Lawyer Conned by Check Scam du Jour, Bank Says

     CHICAGO (CN) – A bank that wired $570,000 to Japan has filed a federal complaint against the family-law attorney it says should have caught the overseas check scam.
     First American Bank sued the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, RBS Citizens dba Charter One, and David Goodson on Thursday.
     The scheme allegedly shape with an email to Goodson, an attorney practicing in Illinois, from a purported new client seeking legal assistance in obtaining payments in a divorce action.
     Goodson received two purported disbursements of funds owed to that client, First American says.
     “The first check was in the amount of $86,178.96 and the second check was in the amount of $486,750.33,” the complaint states. “Both checks were purportedly drawn by First Aid Corporation on its account at First American. Upon information and belief, Goodson caused RBS Citizens to wire funds represented by these checks to Japan after he retained a portion of the funds as a ‘fee,’ even though he had done no legal work to justify any such fees.”
     First American says the checks were fraudulent, and Goodson’s actions were negligent given the “highly unusual and suspicious” nature of his client’s request. It says this sort of scheme is a well known Internet scam called the “Fumiko Bandit” scam.
     “Goodson personally received the checks in packages sent from Canada, even though the checks were purportedly drawn by an Illinois corporation,” the complaint states. “Furthermore, upon information and belief, Goodson caused the funds to be wired to Japan immediately, before First American had paid the checks.”
     First American claims to have recredited the Illinois corporation, 1st Ayd, on whose account the checks were drawn. RBS Citizens allegedly indemnified the bank for the first check, but First American says it has refused to do so for the second check.
     In addition to indemnification for the full value of the fraudulent checks, First American wants damages for negligent spoliation of evidence against RBS for destroying the second check, and for professional negligence against Goodson.
     It is represented by Mark Wilson with Kerns, Frost & Pearlman.

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