The Law Society of British Columbia warns lawyers about a sophisticated con involving a phony law firm website:
Wagner Elliot LLP is not a real law firm, but in yet another twist on the bad cheque scam, a sophisticated fraudulent website (www.wagnerelliot.com) is used to fool you into believing that it is. The scamsters hope to trick you into paying out on a phony trust cheque, certified cheque or bank draft.
Although Wagner Elliott LLP is used as the bogus site in this scam, the details — including the fake law firm used — may vary. Here’s generally how the scam works:
- You are contacted by a new client who claims to live in another country (e.g. Japan) and wants you to act on a conveyance.
- The client has used a BC realtor to make an offer to purchase with subjects on a residential property in BC.
- The realtor sends you the signed contract of purchase and sale.
- The client tells you that they will have their Wagner Elliot LLP lawyer, based in Toronto, send you the funds.
- You receive a well made but phony instrument for deposit into your trust account.
- Soon after you deposit the funds into trust, the client contacts you to say that they aren’t removing the subjects and to please return the funds.
- If you write a trust cheque before learning that the instrument was bad, you’ve been scammed.