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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, February 22, 2010

Honolulu law firms scammed out of $500,000

Associated Press

HONOLULU — The FBI reports some con artists have taken a total of $500,000 from six Honolulu law firms since the start of the year.

The special agent-in-charge of the FBI’s Honolulu office, Charlene Thornton, explained the scam Monday.
It begins with a law firm receiving an e-mail from a prospective client from overseas.
The client then sends the firm a cashier’s check for a legal fee retainer in an amount far exceeding industry standards.
When the law firm informs the client the retainer is too high, the client requests a wire transfer refund to a foreign bank account.
After the refund is sent, the firm learns the cashier’s check was counterfeit, and it’s out the amount of the refund.
The scam involved bank accounts in South Korea, Taiwan and Canada.