Investment and Banking Scams continued
What to Do If You Suspect a Scam
Caution: If you suspect a scam, take important steps before accepting any money into trust, especially money from third parties. Money into trust can be a critical turning point making withdrawal of your services much more complicated.
If you suspect a scam:
- Ask questions of your client and yourself such as:
- If this is such a powerful and unique opportunity, why was I picked as the lawyer for the project?
- Where is the seed money coming from?
- Why can't I meet the powers behind the financial institution or why does my client control all my communications with the alleged powers?
- How does this investment generate a profit beyond simply generating further investment money?
- Who are some of the other lawyers that represented this client in the past, and may I contact them? If not, why not?
- What real legal services am I being asked to perform, and how do they relate to the project?
- Am I really able to give independent legal advice or give assurances of the nature I am being asked to give?
- Consider whether you need to seek your own counsel before taking further steps or contacting anyone else (e.g., you believe you cannot discuss this without breaching client confidentiality, or you have crossed the line and may now appear to have become involved in the fraud itself).
- If you have no issue with your own potentially improper involvement, run the scenario by another trusted lawyer or a staff lawyer at the LSBC.
- If you suspect a scam, withdraw from acting for the client (see the module Withdrawal of Services to ensure this is done properly; again seek assistance from counsel if necessary, or a staff lawyer at the LSBC, if you have issues with withdrawal and especially so if you have money that has been received from third parties.
- Consider whether you need to make a report to the Lawyers Insurance Fund.