Public Warning.- Scammers passing themselves off as Spanish lawyers and law firms
Public Warning.-Scammers passing themselves off as Spanish lawyers and law firms
Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt - Lawbird Legal Services
Friday 13th of March 2009
Foreigners should be well-advised that there are many scammers trying to pass themselves off as legitimate Spanish law firms and lawyers. They prey exclusively on foreigners and are in fact not Spanish themselves. They are mostly Nigerian (lately there's a surge of British and Irish citizens involved too). It is calculated there are over 300,000 Nigerians worldwide scamming people. The golden rule is they never scam nationals of the country in which they live in. So Nigerians located in Spain (Madrid, Málaga and Granada) scam everyone except Spanish themselves. Nigerians are among the best educated elite in Africa and their command of English is often superb.
Spanish lawyers belong to one of the Bar Associations throughout Spain. There are a total of 83. Every colleged lawyer has a registered number. It is very easy to check in less than a minute if a Spanish lawyer is legitimate i.e. registered to practice Law in Spain (just follow this link).
Besides, registered lawyers have Professional Indemnity Insurance.
These fraudsters will contact you by a cold-call, e-mail or letter offering you either of the following "services":
1.- As the only beneficiary of a Spanish inheritance from some distant (and unknown) relative in Spain that has passed away.
2.- Offering to recover resale time share deposits in ongoing court proceedings (Reclaim Certificates). They will offer you "group actions" against timeshare companies through cold-calls. Ask them how they obtained your contact details and the details of your timeshare investment. Remember that legitimate Spanish law firms never cold-call potential clients.
3.- Notifying you that you have won the Spanish Lottery (despite never having played it) as a promotion from the generous Lotto Administration.
4.- Contacting you regarding using your bank account, in exchange of a commission, for some million dollar bank transfer with origin in some dodgy place in Africa. This is known as the Nigerian Letters.
5.- Offer to assist in verification and payment of unclaimed funds of which you are the beneficiary.
6.- Acting as intermediaries in car sales at very reduced prices. They will request you deposit the funds in their lawyer's account.
Other related links.-
Timeshare Resale Scams Revealed - Beware of the Bogus Buyers -13th November 2009
Five property swindles exposed - 26th October 2009
Careful with Scammers Posing as Spanish Lawyers - 18th March 2009
Bogus Holiday Club Membership (mostly in Canaries) - 10th March 2009
Protecting Yourself from Pyramid or "Ponzi" Schemes - 21st February 2009
Fortuna Estates, Fortuna Land, Oanna Group - 8th January 2009
The Legal Case Against Fortuna Land - 8th December 2008
European Mediation Limited - 18th November 2008
Fraudulent sell of shares from Spain - Boiler rooms - UK FSA's link.
Is the 'El Gordo Lottery Sweepstake Company' a genuine company? - 13th November 2001
Lottery Fraud: Yet Another Scam - 24th September 2001
UK Foreign Office: Lottery Fraud, What to do
Warning: Avoid Holiday Clubs in Spain
Timeshare resellers: Be careful! - 23rd August 2001
Top 10 Scams of 2007
9 Tips on How to Determine if an Offer is a Scam
October 17th, 2008 @ 14:10 by admin
We are receiving a dozen queries every day asking about the legitimacy of certain offer, generally received by email or over the phone after a cold call. Unfortunately, we cannot analyze case by case, and therefore will provide a set of useful hints which will help you evaluate the legitimacy of the company or individual yourself.
The list below is provided in no particular order:
1. Is the domain name old enough? By means of a Whois search you can find out when the domain name was registered. If it’s only a few weeks old, be suspicious.
2. Are they using mobiles? – If the phones used as contact numbers are mobile numbers instead of land lines, it’s definitely not a good sign. In Spain, mobile numbers start by +34 6..
3. Have you been contacted out of the blue? – If you where cold called, or received an email from someone you don’t know, ask yourself why these people have your contact details.
4. Are you being requested to pay money upfront? This is the single most worrying point if it comes in conjunction of with one or more of the above.
5. Are they requesting you a money transfer through Western Union or similar?
6. Is the offer too good to be true? If the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
7. Is the company properly registered? – Although it’s something positive if they can provide you with company registration details, you shouldn’t give this point too much importance. Fraudsters have been registering companies for decades with the sole purpose of deceiving (e.g. dozens of companies where incorporated by fraudsters to conduct the infamous Timeshare Resale Scam)
8. Is the address for their offices correct? – Not sure why, fraudsters tend to provide you with fake addresses which don’t really exist. Check any of the online street directories and find out if the address provided is correct.
9. Something strange about their names? Funny names such as “Woley Fernandez” or “Barrister Perez Santos ESQ” are names made up by Nigerians conducting 419 advance fee scams (the terms “Barrister” or “ESQ” don’t exist in Spanish law). Also, fraudsters tend to cite fake organisms such as “The Ministry of Finance” or “The Security Company”.
10. What others are saying – Use search engines to find information about the company. Try putting the company in inverted comas, and add terms like “scam” or “fraud”. The company or individual you mention might have already been reported online as fraudsters by other people.
Needless to say, the above list shouldn’t be taken as definitive, nor the absolute legitimacy o illegitimacy of a company established based on one or more of the above points. You can use it, however, to personally evaluate the risk of the transaction.
My recommendation is that you never pay any moneys upfront if you have been contacted out of the blue. However, if you have to, before doing so always suggest the use of an escrow company (chosen by you) to hold the funds until the product or service has been delivered. If they refuse, I recommend that you back off.
Always remember; have a lawyer analyze the transaction before making any up-front payments.
Last edited by Lawbird Lawyer; 06-18-2010 at 11:25 AM.
List of Bogus Spanish Law Firms
We have compiled a list of such bogus law firms. They claim to be lawyers or legitimate Spanish law firms when in fact they are not. Clients are being continously misled to hire them thinking they are retaining the services of properly registered Spanish lawyers when it's not the case. These companies are giving legitimate Spanish law firms and lawyers a bad name.
Some of these unregulated companies go as far as having a completely legitimate appearance: they have incorporated a Spanish Limited Liability Company (SL), they have a neat profesionally laid out website, they are actually renting some commercial premises, they have multiple workers under payroll working as commission-driven "teleoperators" doing the cold-calling, they file taxes regularly etc. It's often fairly hard for laymen to distinguish them from a legitimate law firm.
Nigerian bogus law firms are the ones easiest to spot and they are always scams. They only have a website and send letters, e-mails or cold-call you. Their command of English is flawless. They do not incorporate companies, nor rent premises, nor hire workers.
Non-nigerian outfits are trickier to spot. They share the same modus operandi and always have Brisith or Irish citizens involved (to build rapport) who do the cold-calling of their fellow countrymen fleecing them: they will cold-call you out-of-the-blue offering you "group or class actions" against the timeshare companies or holiday clubs in which you've invested. You ought to be fully aware that the person with whom you are dealing and entrusting them your funds are not registered lawyers. They will identify themselves as Paralegals, Legal Advisors, Senior Legal Advisors, Legal Executives etc.
Over the eleven years our website has been running all "law firms" that followed this modus operandi of cold-calling clients offering litigation have turned out to be scams. For some bizarre reason a great deal of these "law firms" are located in Fuengirola, Málaga Province. Which out of sheer coincidence just happens to be the same town in which the majority of these timeshare-related scams are also located. They also happen to share the same data base of clients. Again, just coincidence.
What should raise the alarm bells is just how on earth did these "law firms" get hold of your contact details (name, surname, UK address, e-mail, phone number, name of of the timeshare company in which you invested, the exact amount which you invested etc.)? This information can only be provided or disclosed by the timeshare company that scammed you in the first place. It is clearly a breach of Spain's Data Protection Act. It is not surprising you will be targeted by different "law firms" within the same year poking you to take legal action against the timeshare companies which fleeced you. They seemingly share the same databases as of the dubious timeshare companies.
Legitimate Spanish law firms never cold-call people. And the reason is simple, they lack your contact details unless you give it to them. Which is why you must mistrust always any phone calls from either the UK or from Spain offering you out-of-the-blue to take "class actions" or "group actions" against timeshare companies. Ask yourself why and how do these people have your contact and investment details.
Legitimate Spanish law firms, in compliance with new regulation that was passed on 2007, have to trade statutorily as S.L.P.'s (Sociedad Limitada Profesional, or SLP). The owner of a Spanish law firm must be a lawyer. 75% of the share ownership must be owned by qualified lawyers. You should be very wary of any law firm located in Spain which is not trading as a registered S.L.P. This can easily be checked at the Spanish Companies' House. You should be very wary of "law firms" trading as S.L.'s whose sole or joint administrator are not registered lawyers. Those who are not registered to practice Law cannot call themselves "lawyers"; you have to be registered to practice law in one of Spain's Law Societies to address yourself as a "lawyer". These companies are often scams.
Bottom line, to put it simply, if a Spanish law firm is trading as an S.L.P. you have 100% guarantee that you are dealing with properly qualified registered lawyers (who will have Professional Indemnity Insurance against which you can claim in the event of negligence or malpractice). However, if you deal with "law firms" that trade as S.L. or S.L.U. you do not have this guarantee, and quite often they are not lawyers nor legitimate law firms, albeit scammers.
As a final word of caution, do not be fooled by a company that is trading which has the word "Abogados" (lawyers, in Spanish) in its name, i.e. Perez and Perez Abogados SL. This means nothing.
Newspaper clips on bogus law firms:
A company included in the list herewith doesn't necessarily equate to them being scammers. The companies listed below are only those that try to pass themselves off as legitimate Spanish law firms or else offer legal services, even if outsourced, when legally they can not. Which is why they are labelled as bogus law firms because they often mislead clients (mostly from the UK and the Republic of Ireland) into thinking they are hiring a legitimate Spanish law firm when it's not the case.
Ramírez y Partners S.L. (Alicante) - 30th June 2010 Belegal forum thread
Solicitor/Attorney/Barrister/Esq. Geraldo Dantel (Inheritance scam; Madrid) - 21st June 2010
Barrister Raul Lopez (Esq) (Inheritance scam; Madrid) - 8th June 2010
Fraser and Ward Lawyers (Canary Islands) - 1st June 2010 Belegal forum thread
Unibancaja / Unibancaja Trust of Spain (Bogus Bank; Madrid) - 27th May 2010
Carl Luis Y Associates S.A./Carl Luis y Socio (Inheritance scam; Madrid) - 27th May 2010 Belegal forum thread
Zentera Bancaja Trust or Zentera Bancaja Trust (Bogus Bank; Madrid) - 27th May 2010
Bendraca Bancaja ES (Bogus Bank; Madrid) - 27th May 2010
Anderson & Associate Lawyers/ Anderson & Asociados Abogados (Inheritance scam; Madrid) -18th May 2010 (Not to be confused with a legitimate law firm trading under the same name located in Marbella, Málaga)
Letrado Josef Cullera (Inheritance scam); - 17th May 2010 Belegal forum thread
Lasmedes Asociados S.L. / Barrister "Sergio Carmen Santiago" (Inheritance scam; Valencia) - 13th May 2010 Belegal forum thread
Marcos Diego Asociados (Inheritance scam; Madrid, Barcelona, Tarragona) - 10th May 2010 Belegal forum thread
Gonzalez Garcia Abogados (Inheritance scam; Valencia/Barcelona) - 27th April 2010 Belegal forum thread
Barrister Rober Huber Esq (Valencia) - 19th April 2010
RCB Legal Services (Málaga) - 13th April 2010
Marcelo Belgrano Ledesma Abogados Limited (Madrid) - 23rd March 2010 Belegal forum thread.
Barrister Geraldo Flind ESQ (Madrid) - 23rd March 2010 Belegal forum thread
LITIMED (Litigation and Mediation) (Málaga) -19th March 2010 Belegal forum thread
OAL Partners (Asociados). International Lawyers, S.R.L./ Wrightson Ibiricu (Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona) -17th March 2010 Belegal forum thread
Legalmax Associados & Solicitors / Solomon Alonso Can (Madrid)- 23rd February 2010 Belegal from thread
SAM Abogados / Sergio Aragon McEnzie (Fuengirola - Estepona) - 4th February 2010 Belegal forum thread
Last edited by Lawbird Lawyer; 07-02-2010 at 03:41 PM.
Company Law Direct (Estepona) - 2nd February 2010 Belegal forum thread
Rodríguez, Fernando & Sharpirez / RFS (Fuengirola) - 29th January 2010 Belegal forum thread
Lewis Pintol Abogados (also written "Lewis Pinto Abogados" and "Lewis Pintos Abogados") (Madrid) - 8th January 2010 Belegal forum thread
Mankin Victor Esq. - 8th January 2010 Belegal forum thread
Arthur Reyes Abogado y Socio / Arthur Reyes - 24th November 2009
Mr JC Greenfield / John Greenfield (Fuengirola) - 24th November 2009 (Not to be confused with a legitimate registered lawyer with a similar name located in Balearic Islands)
Abogados Lemmes Chambers / Abogados Lemmes S.L. / Barrister Solomon Adamson (Ciudad Victoria, Gasteiz; Madrid) - 16th November 2009
First Legal Services / FLS (Estepona) - 13th November 2009 Belegal forum thread
Ramirez and Ramirez / Ramirez & Ramirez Abogados S.L. (Fuengirola/Benalmádena) 12th November 2009 Belegal forum thread
Key Properties Town Advisory S.L./ KPTA / KPA (Fuengirola/Benalmádena) - 12th November 2009 Belegal forum thread and this other thread
FUENGIROLA SERVICIOS 2002 SL (Fuengirola/Benalmádena) - 12th November 2009 Belegal forum thread
European Legal Services / ELS (Marbella, San Pedro de Alcántara) - 12th November 2009 belegal forum thread (post 20)
Legal Advice Counsel / LAC (Marbella, San Pedro de Alcántara) - 12th November 2009 belegal forum thread and this thread (post number 5)
Molina Valero / Abogados y Gestores Molina Valero (Huelva) - 23rd October 2009 Belegal forum thread
Marques Crusedar & Co (Bilbao) - 20th October 2009 Belegal forum thread
Alexis Gonlez Asociados (Madrid) - 16th October 2009
(Amichal) Mahilak Y Socio (Marbella) - 7th October 2009 Belegal forum thread
David Smith and Co. Solicitors (Valencia) - 1st October 2009
Marques Carrillo & Assoc. (Madrid) - 29th September 2009 Belegal forum thread
Perez, Garcia & Frank Legal Consultants (Tenerife) - 28th September 2009
Manuel Gomez y Socio/Manuel Gomez Consultant - 24th September 2009
Pastor-ascciados (Madrid & Bilbao) - 24th September 2009
Pizarro & Associados (Madrid) - 21st September 2009 Belegal forum thread
Fernando advocaten abogados / Fernando legal abogados (Madrid)- 4th September 2009 Belegal forum thread
George Laurent Legal firm - 3rd September 2009 Belegal forum thread
Sherry Marries Loan Firm Attorney At Law and Notary Public - 19th August 2009
Hermann Cruzado & Associates - 27th July 2009 Belegal forum thread
Alberto Marquez Halcón Abogado - 29th May 2009 Belegal forum thread and also this other thread
Pedro Morales- 14th May 2009
Paul Iglesias & Asociados- 13th May 2009
Mil y Lopez / Van Mill Y Lopez - 10th March 2009 Belegal forum thread (post number 9)
Alberto Ganez Y Socio - 23rd January 2009 Belegal forum thread
Martinez e Beneficio - 26th December 2008 Belegal forum thread
Perez, Carrera and Associates (San Sebastián) - 12th December 2008 Belegal forum thread (post number 5)
Perez, Gonzalez and Associates - 4th December 2008 Belegal forum thread
European Mediation Limited - 17th November 2008 Belegal forum thread
Bufete Fernandez Garcia Hutchinson & Socios - 7th July 2008
You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.
16th President of the US (1809 - 1865)
Last edited by Lawbird Lawyer; 06-21-2010 at 12:27 PM.
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Last edited by Lawbird Lawyer; 07-26-2010 at 09:29 AM.
Justin and susan can you help. I have put a deposit on an apt in Estepona almost 5yrs ago and can get no advice from anyone, as i dont have the keys yet and now dont want it for many reasons although desperate to have a little place in Spain. I am coming over in 2weeks and wondered if you could please please please help in any way with advice.
Welcome to the belegal formums.
I don't think we have anyone here by the name of Justin or Susan (I believe they are the couple who run the site eyeonspain).
Nevertheless, we can still provide you with some advice on which your options are regarding your unfinished property. I suggest that you describe a bit more in detail the problem you have and a lawyer will be more than happy to reply to your post.
Scam Lawyer Name to be added to list
Please add the name Armando Garcia or fake business name A. M. Garcia & Asociado to your list of scam lawyers. This is one my brother received from a scammer stating he was a spanish lawyer who had an inheritance for my brother.
Please add another scammer to your list
I just received a letter in the mail from a Jose Abrienda Y Socio saying he is from the Solicitor y Notaries Public and is asking for further details for a 6.1Million EUR inheritance and that he wants 10% of the inheritance given to charity and split the remaining between myself and him.
Obviously dodgy, just want people to be aware.