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Minnesota lawyer falls for Nigerian email scam, sues Wells Fargo

A Minnesota law firm that lost nearly $400,000 in a Nigerian wire-fraud scam is claiming that Wells Fargo, which handled the fund transfers, should cover its losses.

The Star Tribune of Minneapolis reports on the lawsuit by Milavetz Gallop & Milavetz, which three years ago received an email from someone purporting to be a Korean woman who needed the firm’s help to collect a settlement. You can probably see where this is going: When the dust settled, Milavetz Gallop & Milavetz was a lot poorer. It has parallels — down to the account numbers involved — to a investigation into a Nigerian fraud ring that targeted law firms; two people have been indicted in that investigation.

In his suit, Robert Milavetz argues that Wells Fargo & Co. should have recognized the red flags involved — a counterfeit check used in the scam had the bank’s address spelled wrong, he claims. The suit also says the bank told the firm the check had cleared, only to later say it hadn’t, really — but the firm had already wired the money away by that point. Wells Fargo said it will defend itself in the case.

Mark Reilly manages daily and weekly coverage at the Business Journal newsroom.

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April 26, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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