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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Dear US lawyer: I'm overseas and need your help (and trust account)

By Warren Richey

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In a twist to the classic Nigerian scam offering to share a vast fortune over the Internet, a sophisticated ring found a way to mine lawyer trust accounts and come up with gold

JewishWorldReview.com | (TCSM) It is well known that Nigerian scam artists have built a lucrative cottage industry using Internet ploys to raid the bank accounts of gullible Americans.

Foreign solicitations replete with hilarious misspellings and grandiose offers of easy money have become a clichéd staple of e-mail junk files.

But now, a recent case from central Pennsylvania reveals an entirely new level of sophistication by these criminals. Their target this time: law firm trust accounts.

The scam involves hiring a lawyer to help recover funds owed by a North America-based company from a real estate transaction, a divorce settlement, or a lawsuit claim.

The fraud begins with an e-mail letter from a prospective client who claims to be overseas and in need of legal help to collect the debt.

To disguise the Nigerian origin of the scam, the group used Asian client names and bank accounts in Singapore, South Korea, Japan, and China.

The lawyer is offered a generous fee for his or her efforts in recovering the owed funds.

What the lawyer will not know is that he/she is now in the center of an intricate web set up to mimic all the steps of a genuine debt collection process.

Within days of the lawyer's involvement, a check for the owed amount is sent to the lawyer. The "client" has asked that the lawyer deposit the proceeds into the law firm's trust account and then — after subtracting the generous fee — wire the remaining funds to the client's foreign bank account in Asia.

Here's where the fraud gets interesting. A careful or suspicious lawyer might want to verify the authenticity of a check that has just been deposited into his firm's trust account.

In anticipation of that suspicion, the Nigerian scammers hired a forgery specialist to create a perfect copy of a real company check including a company phone number and the name of a representative of the company.

When the cautious lawyer calls the contact number on the check, the individual on the other end of the line identifies herself as an employee of the company and vouches for the veracity of the check. In reality, she is part of the scam.

Satisfied, the lawyer then gives his bank instructions to wire the client's "recovered" funds to the client's foreign bank account.

The fraud is now complete. Another member of the criminal group immediately withdraws the funds from the foreign bank account.

In one fraud depicted in federal court documents, the scammers asked a lawyer in Carlisle, Pa., for help recovering about $300,000. They promised the lawyer $50,000 for his help. The scammers ultimately got away with $244,278 in funds that were wired to an account in South Korea, according to federal documents.

It took four days for the US bank to realize the original check was fraudulent, and little additional time to discover that there is no possibility of recovering the wired funds from the overseas account. Gone too was the lawyer's generous fee since it was the proceeds of a forged check.

It sounds so simple, so what lawyer worth his or her salt would be taken in by such a scam?

According to federal court documents, one group of Nigerian scammers raked in $29 million through 70 different law firm trust accounts in the US and Canada over a two-year period. Another estimate places the losses from the same group at $70 million.

There is also some good news. Three hundred other law firms detected the scam before the funds were wired overseas, thus preventing more than $100 million in losses, according to federal documents.

Last week, one of the alleged leaders of the Nigerian group, Emmanuel Ekhator, was sentenced to more than eight years in prison after pleading guilty for his role in the scam. He was also ordered to pay more than $11 million in restitution.

Several other members of the group are in custody and are awaiting extradition to the US. In all, federal investigators estimate the group may have included as many as 40 individuals.

As part of his guilty plea, Mr. Ekhator agreed to cooperate in the ongoing investigation.


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At the time of his guilty plea in January, Ekhator wrote a two-page letter to the judge, seeking mercy and apologizing for his actions.

"I am very sorry and remorseful with respect of my involvement in this crime and I have no excuses whatsoever for my deeds," he wrote.

Then, he sought to minimize his role in the conspiracy, claiming he was only a middleman who was promised a 10 percent fee and paid less than $200,000.

By the time of his sentencing last week, both Ekhator and his lawyer acknowledged that he played a leadership role and that he was responsible for losses estimated at between $7 million and $20 million.

The international investigation is being carried out by a task force including investigators with the US Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the US Secret Service, Toronto Police Services, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

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© 2013, The Christian Science Monitor

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