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Saturday, May 18, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

L.A. Law Office Says It Was Scammed

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A Los Angeles law firm sued Barclays Bank for nearly $100,000 in an alleged check fraud scheme.

Affeld Grivakes Zucker sued Barclays Bank and Universal Sales and Services Ltd., an English corporation, on Dec. 2 in Superior Court.

Affeld Grivakes Zucker, or AGZ, believes that Universal Sales and Services is a British business and is "purporting to act through a person purportedly named Ian Wylie."

But AGZ believes "that this person/entity is an imposter."

AGZ says the imposter conspired with another unidentified entity or individual to "send a purported settlement check to AGZ with the intention of inducing AGZ to rely on the check as valid and negotiable."

The bogus settlement check was drawn on a California credit union, AGZ says. The law firm says it then wired $97,566 from the so-called settlement check to a Universal Sales and Services account at Barclays Bank.

This is an increasingly common scam being pitched at law offices. Several attorneys told Courthouse News they received sizable checks, which appeared genuine, with persuasive letters asking the firm to deposit the check and then send a corresponding one, minus "legal fees," to the scammer.

A Courthouse News reporter examined one such large check, printed on watermarked paper.

Affeld Grivakes Zucker says that is "is informed and believes, and on that basis alleges, that Barclays has not yet disbursed the funds to the holder of the Barclays account. AGZ has notified Barclays that the transfer to the Barclays account was a result of fraud. AGZ has demanded that Barclays return the funds to AGZ and not disperse them to the holder of the Barclays account, but Barclays has yet to return the money to AGZ."

AGZ seeks punitive damages, costs, a declaration that the money in the Barclays account belongs to AGZ, and wants Barclays enjoined from giving the money to anyone else.

AGZ is represented by its partner Gregg Zucker.

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