Laguna law firm reports case of fraud

A law firm reported to police Friday that it had been given a fraudulent check in the amount of $650,000.

The Laguna Beach law firm, located in the 200 block of Ocean Avenue, was hired to assist with the collection of a $1.2 million debt, Sgt. Louise Callus said in an email.

The supposed victim was an electronics firm, and the suspect was an electronics company, she said. The law firm received an immediate response after their first call to the suspect regarding collection for the electronics firm.

The suspect sent a check for $650,000 and an email on Sept. 9. Within hours of depositing the check, the victim sent an email to the firm, aware of the partial payment and wanted to know when they'd get it, Callus said.

The law firm questioned how the victim would know of the collection so quickly. The victim told them to keep $50,000 as a retainer and wire the rest. On Sept. 13, the law firm discovered their bank account had been closed because a fraudulent check had been deposited, police said. The law firm reportedly attempted to contact the supposed victim but they did not return calls. They filed a fraud report due to the time spent working on what they discovered to be a scam.

Callus said the victim most likely hoped that the attorney would issue the funds to them immediately, prior to discovering it was fraud.

There are no losses reported and no suspects since all the communication was via email and the Internet, Callus said.

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