Within the last year we’ve seen an alarming increase in the number of queries regarding the legitimacy of certain Spanish law firms and lawyers. These companies are in fact non-existent and act only as shelter companies devised to fleece foreigners offering them dubious legal services often related to some murky financial interest, which is in the end nothing but some sort of advance fee fraud (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Advance_fee_fraud). Foreigners should be well advised that these scammers pass themselves off as legitimate Spanish law firms and lawyers. They prey exclusively on foreigners and are in fact not even Spanish themselves. Their command of English is very good.
Spanish lawyers belong to one of the numerous Bar Associations that sprawl throughout Spain. There are a total of 83. Every lawyer member of a BA will have a registered number. It is very easy to check in less than a minute if a Spanish lawyer is legitimate, providing he is in fact registered of course.
These fraudsters will always contact you to offer legal assistance in some service of which you by chance are the sole lucky beneficiary. The potential reward to reap is huge (hundreds of thousands if not millions) in exchange of a reasonable legal fee which in comparison doesn’t seem like much. The preffered contact method is email (which they may follow up by ordinary post), and they will offer you either of the following legal “services”:
- Letting you know that after a long and winding investigation it has surfaced that you are the sole live beneficiary of a considerable Spanish inheritance from some distant relative you had in Spain (unbeknown to you) that has sadly passed away.
- Offering you to join group actions to recover deposits from bogus resale time share companies in ongoing court proceedings (Reclaim Certificates (http://www NULL.thisismoney NULL.co NULL.uk/news/columnists/article NULL.html?in_article_id=401923&in_page_id=19&in_author_id=5)).
- Notifying you that you have won the Spanish Lottery (despite never having played it) or that you have been selected in a random draw and are now the lucky beneficiary of a special promotion from the generous Spanish Lotto Administration.
- Contacting you regarding using your bank account, in exchange of a sizeable commission, for some million dollar bank transfer with origin in some dodgy place in Africa. This is known as the Nigerian Letters.
- Offer to assist you in the verification and payment of unclaimed funds located in Spain of which you happen to be the only beneficiary.
An example of enquiries about such bogus firms are the following:
- Martinez e Beneficio (http://www NULL.marbella-lawyers NULL.com/forums/showthread NULL.php?t=117)
- Alberto Ganez Y Socio (http://www NULL.marbella-lawyers NULL.com/forums/showthread NULL.php?t=155)
- Perez, Gonzalez and Associates (http://www NULL.marbella-lawyers NULL.com/forums/showthread NULL.php?t=97) & Perez, Carrera and Associates (http://www NULL.marbella-lawyers NULL.com/forums/showthread NULL.php?t=97)
Our recommendation, as always, is to never ever pay moneys upfront if you have the slightest suspicion about the legitimicay of the people you are dealing with.
We have compiled a list of bogus law firms (http://www NULL.marbella-lawyers NULL.com/forums/showthread NULL.php?t=382)which is continously updated.
Other interesting related links:
- Protecting Yourself from Pyramid or “Ponzi” Schemes – 21st February 2009
- Fraudulent sell of shares from Spain – Boiler rooms (http://www NULL.fsa NULL.gov NULL.uk/pages/Doing/Regulated/Law/Alerts/overseas NULL.shtml) UK FSA’s link.
- Timeshare resellers: Be careful! (http://www NULL.marbella-lawyers NULL.com/articles/showArticle/timeshare-reselling-scam) – 23rd of August 2001
- Lottery Fraud: Yet Another Scam (http://www NULL.marbella-lawyers NULL.com/articles/showArticle/gordo-sweepstakes-scam) – 24th September 2001
- Is the ‘El Gordo Lottery Sweepstake Company’ a genuine company? (http://www NULL.marbella-lawyers NULL.com/questions/showQuestion/133-Is-the-%27El-Gordo-Lottery-Sweepstake-Company%27-a-genuine--company-)
- European Mediation Limited (http://www NULL.marbella-lawyers NULL.com/forums/showthread NULL.php?t=77)
- Bogus Holiday Club Membership (mostly in Canaries) (http://www NULL.marbella-lawyers NULL.com/forums/showthread NULL.php?t=365)