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My sister is a recent victim of a Canadian lottery scam. She deposited two US checks from the ‘lottery company’ which were then sent back to them with the promise of a large settlement. Now her bank wants the money they paid to the “lottery company”. She does not have the money to pay her bank. What recourse does she have?
Asked on June 22, 2009 under Criminal Law, Louisiana
B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 12 years ago | Contributor
I'm afraid there isn't much help for your sister in this situation. She should talk to an attorney in her area, who can review all of the facts, for reliable advice. One place to find a lawyer is our website, http://attorneypages.com
It's an all-too-common scheme. These days, it's usually done by email. It can be a winning "lottery ticket" or "we drew your email address at random." It can be someone claiming to be a banker, with assets belonging to a deceased individual who you've never heard of but who has no closer living relatives than you. It can be (supposedly) a foreign company with customers in the U.S., that needs an agent to receive their U.S. customers' payments and forward them to the company overseas. The common thread is, deposit the checks you'll get, and send us the money, minus your commission (or, all of it, with a check to be sent back to you for your share). The checks seem to be valid, when you first take them to the bank -- but they will always bounce, a few days later, and any checks you write against that non-existent money are your responsibility.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't true.