NEW YORK: Email scam targets divorce lawyers

I just saw a teaser headline in the New York Law Journal about an email scam that targets divorce lawyers. I was not able to read the entire article because, like the Wall Street Journal and a few other prestigious publications, the New York Law Journal has instituted a pay wall and you’ve got to pay to read their stuff – and the subscription does not come cheap. But I can say that I am personally aware of the scam, or a  scam because I get emails fairly regularly from people who claim to be going through divorce, who claim to be living outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. courts, and who claim to be having trouble collecting a divorce judgment. It’s usually at least a six figure judgment and they are seeking a divorce lawyer, such as myself, to help them collect. I really thought that it was one of my haters who were pranking me and so I automatically delete these emails. I did not realize that, in fact, they are targeting divorce lawyers in general, to the point that the story made the New York Law Journal. Wow. I wonder whether they’ve gotten to the bottom of whomever is behind this?  I wish I had access to that article. But it puzzles me how any lawyer out there could have fallen for that scam. It was clearly junk mail on its face as I said and I simply deleted it. Are there really lawyers who thought this stuff was legit? Incredible. Well, if anyone knows about this scam, or if you’ve read the article in the NYLJ feel free to write in and tell us all about it.
Here’s one recent email:

Dear Sir,
Good day, first, I apologize for sending you this sensitive information via
e-mail instead of a Certified mail/Post-mail. This is due to the urgency and
importance of the information.
Secondly, this project is based on Trust, confidentiality and sincerity of
purpose in order to have an acceptable meeting of the minds. I am a fifty two
(52) years old established lawyer. My name is Mr. James Douglas, a legal
personal attorney to an expatriate and a consultant with an American Oil
company,PENNZ OIL & GAS (Now deceased) He died in the Tsunami disaster on 26th
December 2004 while on vacation in Thailand.

Six years ago, My Client successfully executed a contract worth US$20.3 million
dollars. A part payment of USD11.million dollars was paid to my client while he
was alife, while the balance of USD9.3 million Dollars was still unpaid before
my client died in the Indian Ocean Tsunami disaster. However, all my efforts to
locate the possible next of kin proved abortive. Until his sudden demise, He was
not married and was 44years old.
NOW THE CRUX OF THIS E-LETTER is that the balance of the outstanding funds has
already been deposited in his bank. As his personal attorney/Adviser, his bank
has officially notified and instructed me to forward particulars of my client's
next of kin within the next 14 official working days so that he/she can be paid
the outstanding USD9.3 Million dollars otherwise his payment will be diverted to
the government coffers account as unclaimed bill.
Since I have been unsuccessful in locating any of his relatives, I decided to
contact you for a deal so that we can work together as a team to remit the money
to your account as my client's next of kin since I do not want to sit and watch
my client's hard earned entitlement to be frittered away.
Although I know that a transaction of this magnitude might make anyone
apprehensive but I would like to assure you that I am proposing this project to
you with the best of intentions. As a lawyer, I have the power to secure all the
necessary legal documents that will be used for this claim. All I require from
you is your honest co-operation to enable us see this deal through. I guarantee
that this transaction will be executed under a Legitimate banking arrangement
that will protect you from any breach of law. Upon successful conclusion of this
project, you will be compensated with 40% of the total fund, while 50% will be
for me and 10% for expenses which we will incur in the process of securing the
If you are interested to work with me in this deal then kindly reply strictly
with your personal Telephone /fax number for effective communication and oral
clarification on how to proceed next.
Sincerely yours,
James Douglas  esq.
{Principal Partner)