A law firm in Minnesota is suing Wells Fargo bank for not noticing a bogus check that cost the firm nearly $400,000. The Nigerian scam which the firm fell prey to has victimized more than 80 law firms and attorneys and cost them roughly $31 million.
The scam is believed to have originated in the African nation of Nigeria, where many similar scams have come from, and entails a con artist posing as 40-year-old Korean woman claiming to have been injured while in Minnesota. The con artist then goes onto claim that they’re owed monetary compensation as part of a settlement regarding a personal injury lawsuit. Emmanuel Ekhator is believed to have been behind the scam.
Ekhator, allegedly part of a Nigerian ring of scam artists, has been charged and Nigeria has agreed to allow extradition to the United States.
This particular scam involved another entity which would act as the debtor, the party at fault in the phony personal injury suit, and send the unsuspecting law firm a fake check which would then be deposited by the firm. After depositing the check, the firm would then deduct their legal fees and pass on the remaining balance to the con artist. The bank, who did not realize that the check in this particular case was a counterfeit, is being sued for failing to ensure the authenticity of the check prior to depositing the funds into the account of the law firm.
While an excess of 200 lawyers or firms have been victimized by this scam, only Gallop & Milavets of Edina, Minnesota, have decided to sue. Robert Milavetz told Fox News he’s seeking a reversal of the $396,500 charge to the law firm’s trust account.