June 17, 2010

Fraudsters love legal firm

It has come to my attention of a few news in the last few weeks about people using lawyers or legal firms to conduct frauds. One is a case where a clerk in a legal firm was asked to deposit some money into an account of an immigration department officer to save her client who was caught with more money than is allowed to be carried into Malaysia. Today (17.6.2010), in a case not related to a legal firm but has the same modus operandi, a man was enticed by 'a British woman' and was asked to deposit money by an immigration officer. In the earlier case, the woman lost nearly RM20,000-00 but in the latter, the man reported the case to the Malaysia Anti Corruption Commission. 

It is not a new thing for my partner and me as we have been the target of such fraudulent 'clients' since the first day of our firm's existence. Long ago, we had clients from Malaysia and foreign countries claiming to have millions of dollars to invest in various properties and businesses and all are just scams to use our firm to convince people that they are genuine. It seems that a legal firm or a lawyer can lend credibility to unconvincing stories.

Last few years, we have seen Bar Council of Malaysia warning lawyers about bogus legal firms which try to offer services and take money from the public. Other than these cases of passing off (pretending as someone you are not), legal firms are also places where people like to go and try to steal money from. We were warned just a month back that a woman is going around applying the job as an experience legal clerk, get the job, attend to clients and take payment in cash which she pocketed before quitting and taking the money with her.
That is why even in my book I ask people to check whether the lawyer or the legal firm they are dealing with is genuine or not. Just go to the Malaysian Bar Council website Malaysian Bar. They will find all the lawyers in practice with a valid license there and it is a reliable source enough as those who are not licensed are taken off the list the next day they don't have a valid license.

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