Being stupid and dishonest at the same time is a toxic mix. The math goes like this: stupid + dishonest = disaster. And here’s an example:
An Iowa lawyer was stupid enough to fall for one of those obvious email scams cooked up by some Nigerian shysters. You know, one of those emails that starts out with “Dear Attorney: We have urgent need to hire your firm for important matter involving large estate . . ..”
The Nigerian email schemers had a U.S.-based confederate, an existing client of the lawyer, help them convince the lawyer that the client was about to inherit $18.8 million from a long-lost Nigerian cousin. They then convinced the lawyer to represent the client to procure the inheritance in exchange for a 10% fee, which would amount to about $1.8 million.
The only problem was that someone was going to have to come up with $180,000 in Nigerian inheritance taxes, which had to be paid before the inheritance could be released. Guess who had to come up with that? You get the picture . . .
During the course of the scam, the lawyer talked by phone to people who represented themselves as lawyers, bankers and even the president of Nigeria. You have to admire the acting talent of these shysters — they totally convinced this lawyer that they were who they said they were.
The lawyer, who did not have the $180,000 to pay the “inheritance tax”, convinced several clients to loan the would-be heir the money, promising them huge returns on their investment.
Even though the lawyer was stupid, he was certainly smart enough to know that involving existing clients in a money investment where he was going to receive a contingency fee violated the code of ethics for lawyers. Thus, he was not only stupid, but dishonest.
But surprise, surprise — the $1.8 million never showed up and the heir to the fortune disappeared, and emails stopped coming.
So the dumb/dishonest lawyer’s clients are out of pocket $180,000, and he is in big-time trouble with the lawyer ethics cops. In fact, his law license has been suspended for a year.
Hey, maybe he could use that year to try to locate the inheritance money: He says he still believes its real and that the money will show up! A trip to Nigeria should do the trick . . .
Moral of the story: Don’t be stupid. And don’t be dishonest. But above all don’t be stupid and dishonest.
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com Central NY Personal Injury Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.