lf1

Norman Groot: What to do if you are a victim of fraud

Norman Groot adBy Norman Groot, and attorney in Toronto Canada

Our views on “triaging” your fraud case

To discover a fraud is to discover a breach of trust. Whether the fraud relates to investment matters, employment scenarios, conduct between business associates, or other forms of relationships, the emotional effects resulting from fraud may be significant. It is common for fraud victims to immediately react and contact the fraudster and demand the return of their funds and/or to contact the police. We suggest that fraud victims restrain themselves from these natural retributive inclinations. Rather, we suggest fraud victims consider the following checklist to “triage” their loss.

Checklist to “triage” loss due to fraud

1. contact a trusted friend or family member not connected in any way to the fraudster to review the scenario, to provide support, and to be a source of sound judgment;

2. preserve and organize documents relating to communications with the fraudster and to the transfers of money, together with any other evidence that is clearly relevant to the loss;

3. research or seek a reference for an appropriate civil fraud recovery lawyer or law firm;

4. have the appropriate response to the loss professionally assessed by a lawyer who will focus on recovery first and retribution second.

We recommend that fraud victims also consider the following issues.

Consideration No. 1 – Do Not Contact the Fraudster

Fraud, in its essence, is “theft by lies.” There are no persuasive reasons to believe that those who have lied in order to obtain money will later provide a straight answer when confronted with their lies.  Rather, after having violated the trust of their victim, the tendency of fraudsters is to deny their wrongdoing and to offer a myriad of excuses, often blaming the victim for their own “misfortune.” Further, often fraudsters who realize that their scheme has been discovered will attempt to cover their tracks by deleting the electronic communications evidencing their fraud, as well as to transfer the fruits of their dishonesty out of the victim’s reach, and to otherwise destroy the record of their wrongful conduct.

Instead of confronting the fraudster, we suggest that fraud victims contact someone they trust such as a family member, a friend or a professional with whom they deal, in order to confirm the reasonableness of their beliefs that they have been defrauded, and to preserve and organize any electronic and paper documents relating to the fraud, and then research a lawyer whose law practice focuses on fraud recovery. Documents relating to the transfer of funds and representations made by the fraudster are most important. Organizing documents in chronological order assists in explaining the story to a lawyer and maybe later to police.

Consideration No. 2 – Do Not Contact Witnesses or Anyone Known to the Fraudster

If a victim immediately confronts the fraudster, they run the risk that the fraudster will destroy the evidence to support the case and will dissipate the funds the victim seeks to recover. If the victim contacts anyone who knows the fraudster, they run the risk that they will inadvertently or sometimes intentionally alert the fraudster, despite whatever assurances they give. It is best for fraud victims to have their case assessed by a lawyer to determine its strength before seeking to obtain further evidence held by the fraudster and/or by third parties.  An element of surprise often enhances a fraud victim’s chances of recovery and of later seeking retribution.

Consideration No. 3 – Do Not Immediately Contact the Police

Many victims of fraud are inexperienced in dealing with the police and do not realize that the police are not well-equipped to recover their funds.  If you contact the police before assessing your case with your own civil counsel, you assume the risk that the fraudster will be alerted to a potential criminal investigation and may then use the victim’s own money to retain criminal defense lawyers, or may simply transfer the victim’s money out of the jurisdiction and/or into the hands of accomplices. Stated otherwise, in most scenarios, the police are neither equipped to bring emergency motions to freeze the victim’s funds in the hands of the fraudsters, nor are they equipped to trace the funds into the hands of third parties. Freezing the funds in the possession of fraudsters and their accomplices is the most important factor in increasing the chances of obtaining a recovery. This reason alone should be sufficient to convince a victim to delay reporting the fraud to the police until such time as when a lawyer specializing in fraud litigation and asset recovery can evaluate the victim’s case. There are also numerous other issues to consider before contacting the police – see our blog: Should Fraud Victims Immediately Contact Police Upon Discovery of a Fraud?

Consideration No. 4 – Who is the Appropriate Fraud Lawyer for Your Case

Finding the right lawyer for a fraud case is not a “one size fits all” consideration. Fraud victims should consider the expertise and experience of the lawyers they are considering to handle their fraud recovery case, together with the rates the lawyers charge, and the types of retainers to which the lawyers are willing to agree. With respect to the rates the lawyers may charge, in addition to experience and expertise, this is often a function of the overhead that their firm carries and the number of lawyers and staff that are assigned to the file. With respect to the types of retainers into which lawyers are willing to enter, this is often a function of the willingness of the lawyer to share in the risk of recovery.  For further information on considerations when selecting the appropriate fraud lawyer, see our blog: Considerations in Selecting Your Fraud Lawyer.

Inquiries

From the foregoing, it should be apparent that triaging your fraud loss involves the consideration of numerous issues. For further information, contact us at www.investigationcounsel.com.

Norman Groot, LLB, CFE, CFI



15 Comments on "Norman Groot: What to do if you are a victim of fraud"

Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

  1. This is great advice Norman – thank you so much!



    Report this comment

  2. onmyown says:

    It’s really good to see an attorney addressing the emotional needs of their clients with advice to seek support. Anyone who has been through an emotionally-charged case learned that there’s really no place for emotions in a courtroom, and that the attorneys aren’t qualified to assist with your emotional needs.

    The rest is, of course, very good advice. Hold your cards close to your chest. The biggest mistake I made was confronting a fraudster, and telling him what I knew of his misdeeds so that he could destroy all the evidence. If I had just kept quiet, he might be in prison today instead of walking free.



    Report this comment

  3. IAfraud says:

    Hold your cards close to your chest is great advice. The more people you talk to about your situation, the less chance you have of the outcome being in your favor.

    I was involved in a 3 year lawsuit from a psychopath I dated. He owed me over $6000 but decided he hadn’t taken enough. After I broke off the relationship he decided he wanted another $48,912 plus interest and filed a fraudulent lawsuit against me. I prevailed in the lawsuit after going through 3 years of hell, but let me tell you, there are no winners. It permanently affected my health, finances and ability to trust.

    During the time that he was pursuing me I kept my mouth shut. I told very few people details other than I was being sued literally for a very large amount of dirt. I made copies of my evidence which included invoices, lien waivers, threatening voice mails etc. and made sure they weren’t all in one place, and then I fought like hell until the end, never even thinking about giving up.

    I also prevailed because I told the truth and he had nothing on me. I don’t do drugs or anything else illegal that he could hold over my head. I’m sure he, his parents and attorney HATED that they had nothing to use against me and I backed up my claims with paperwork.



    Report this comment

    • Redwald says:

      This is good advice from IAfraud. It pays to be “squeaky clean.” I’m sure drugs especially are a problem because there are too many people who do use them. They can also be a problem from a different angle. Anyone living with a disreputable partner who does use illegal drugs can be putting themselves at risk of prosecution if drugs are ever found in their home.

      And while I’m not a paranoid person, there are areas where it pays to be paranoid if you’re dealing with a psychopath. In particular, any evidence you can’t afford to lose needs keeping in a safe place, preferably in multiple places, as IAfraud pointed out. You never know what lengths a psychopath might go to in order to destroy evidence, including outright burglary.



      Report this comment

      • IAfraud says:

        My attorney once told me I am paranoid, but with good reason, lol. My paranoia has served me well in this situation, but I’d rather call it intuition or instinct. I have made some very accurate predictions that came true, due to my natural instincts sending me red flags.

        When I made my attorney file a motion to enlarge and amend judgment in the civil case, he wasn’t too sure we should. After it was over he commented that he was glad we did, due to the stalker’s ridiculous motion that he made.



        Report this comment

  4. dndacct says:

    My experience says that if you believe that the institution we call ‘law enforcement’ will protect you from something bad, you are wrong. If you believe that it will prevent it from happening again after they are aware of it, you are wrong. If you believe they will help you recover anything that was stolen from you, you are wrong.

    At our first meeting with an Assistant US Attorney in May 2011 he was very clear that the government’s focus would be on recovery of my father’s assets, not on punishment of the criminal. Shea Saenger has been in jail since January 2011 for contempt of court and mail fraud. We have yet to see $1.00 recovered from any efforts of either local authorities or the US Attorney’s Office. In at least one of the many cases involved the US Government did not even bother to show up for any hearings.

    We have recovered some of my father’s money but it has been entirely through my efforts in civil court with no help at all from ‘law enforcement’



    Report this comment

    • onmyown says:

      OMG, I remember reading about this case. The sociopathic fraudster bilked a gentleman who was suffering from Alzheimer’s out of more than $2 million, and was sending boatloads of money to her shady relatives. They refused to return any of it.



      Report this comment

    • IAfraud says:

      I have had much of the same experience with law enforcement. It’s extremely frustrating when you go to the people whose job it is to protect the community, and get little support.

      This is when it’s required to demand that they help you or make sure it is known in the community that they are not doing their job. After all, it is the taxes we pay that pay their salaries. Deciding not to help someone who needs their help should not be an option.

      As I comment here the person who stalked me has a 240 day sentence he needs to serve in the local county jail after he gets out of prison. The county attorney has no detainer in place so that he is transferred there when released from prison. I have reminded the him twice that there is no detainer in place, yet nothing has been done about it.

      Good luck recovering what is rightfully your father’s. Don’t give up the fight.



      Report this comment

  5. Sparrow says:

    Brilliant advice, practical and very important. Thank you for posting



    Report this comment

  6. jm_short says:

    Unfortunately, many of us here on this site have been victimized by the type of fraud for which there is no restitution or monetary recovery. We have been defruaded of our sexual sanctity through rape by fraud, and defrauded of our highest emotion, which is love, by emotional rape.

    There is currently very little one can do through a legal process to offset the damage and defilement we experienced. Grieving our losses and getting beyond the pain is an arduous road to recovery.

    I’ve mentioned that I’m writing a book about this subject in prior correspondence on this site. I’m happy to let you know that it is now available on Amazon, it’s called, Carnal Abuse by Deceit, How a Predator’s Lies Became Rape. And yes, it is my story.

    I am attempting to spread three messages through my writing:

    1. There are predators who think defrauding people is fun, or they do so for other personal gain. They are morally disordered and more common than society realizes. I hope to raise awareness.

    2. There are a host of reasons, some will truly astound you, why defrauding someone of their pet pig is punishable, but sexually defrauding someone is not. I hope to change that.

    3. There are important steps people must take in order to heal. One of them is to secure validation. Because this problem is little known and rarely spoken about, except in the confines of what Donna has established for us all, the general public often reacts with disdain and misunderstanding. I intend to make rape by fraud and emotional rape clearly understandable to all, and help victims pursue a productive, healing path to reclaim their dignity.

    I named the book Carnal Abuse by Deceit in order to identify the acts of countless degenerates as CADding, and the perpetrators themselves as CADs. I beleive by doing so, we can focus the public on the awareness of the action itself, whether or not they can recognize that people who behave in this inhuman fashion have no empathy and no conscience.

    There are states that have criminalized rape by fraud. If you’d like more information about the laws in your area, you can find it on http://www.CADalert.blogspot.com.

    If you can’t afford a copy of the book, but you are in need of help to overcome the impact of rape by fraud, you can reach me through Donna or leave word on my blog.

    I often sign my writing on this site as JmS. but for now, just….

    Joyce



    Report this comment

  7. kellicam says:

    Joyce~

    Thank you for verbalizing EXACTLY WHAT IS GOING THROUGH MY HEAD AT THIS VERY MOMENT. I have been sitting here in what I call “beyond anger”,thinking about the perpetrator who raped me by fraud. At this moment in time, I am wishing him dead, which goes against the very core of my being. I am a Christian and I have to say that my Faith is what got me through this ordeal. I am most certainly not recovered however as I have horrible thoughts running through my head and still feel the ramifications of the havoc and utter devastation this monster wreaked in my life. These villians don’t just steal from us financially as you know. They steal our very souls. I am most definitely going to purchase your book and actually have hopes of penning my own very soon.

    God Bless You,
    Kelli



    Report this comment

    • jm_short says:

      Kelli-

      I’ve created a tool on my blog that enables you to identify the correct biographical data of a person who you suspect of harm. It makes no statement as to the guilt or innocence of the party. It simply identifies factual information so that it will become more difficult to perpetrate a hoax on the next person.

      Additionally, if you check on the blog, you’ll see the status of rape by fraud laws in various states. Depending on your situation, you may have a case, although, getting your life back on track and moving on, only wiser, could prove the best solution for you!

      The blog is http://www.CADalert.blogspot.com

      I recently began releasing the contact information for the blog, so it’s still in its infancy. The more people who post, the more helpful, and widely understood, this phenomena will become. You can do so anonymously.

      Wishing you a clear and speedy path to recovery! And if I can help you toward writing your book, I’m here for you. By all means, it’s a cathartic way to grapple with the past and put it in the rear view mirror where it belongs!

      Best,
      Joyce



      Report this comment

  8. learnedmylesson says:

    Hey everyone…haven t been on here in a while(at least to comment)but the topic was one that I think I needed to throw some free advice out.Actually this was from my lawyer(so the advice wasn t free for me lol)and once he told me his opinion–I immediately agreed with him.
    My story is on some other blogs I threw on here in the past…to summarize—went with a s/path that once I told her those three magic words “I love you”—I unleashed about 17 of the 20 symptoms or traits of a true sociopath.Lots of lying is the one I ll talk about today.
    She didn t have money or insurance so she started asking me if I could help with prescriptions…occasional doctors visits etc.I wasn t stupid–I asked for paperwork–which I got often enough to get me to trust her for more money WITHOUT paperwork.Then there was rent.She d be out on the street if I didn t pay half of her and her roommates rent.Her roommate was a 65 year old lady I met.Over the course of some time things didn t add up and eventually I caught her in a huge lie.She wasn t living with a woman but–a BOYFRIEND.So I dumped her and her text to me was”I didn t need your money–I just WANTED IT!!”
    All the requests for money were via text(on the phone I got her)so it was good evidence.I went to a lawyer,explained everything…showed him the texts(especially the part where she said she d pay me back) and he said”I have no doubt I can win a judgement for you but if as you say that she has no money–it would probably be impossible to see any of it paid to you.Therefore the only thing that would happen is a confrontation with a sociopath–which only angers them more.Right now yes,you ve lost x amount of dollars(it was 10,000)but consider yourself lucky and don t do the confrontation thing.Chalk the losses up to the fact that you didn t know then what you know now and move on.Nothing good can come of taking this to court”.
    So I thought about it—agreed and never talked to her again.And she left me alone…except when she wound up in jail for retail theft or prostitution or not paying child support.So she d call me to bail her out.I never answered the phone and at this moment..on this day she is in jail again.Its been 1 1/2 years and all she s proven to me is not only is she a sociopath–but a sociopath thats not very intelligent.
    So if at all possible…remember don t take them to court unless it s for an extremely good reason…much better than my $10,000 loss.Thanks everyone and happy holidays.



    Report this comment

    • IAfraud says:

      Learnedmylesson,

      You are very wise not to try to get your money back. In my case it was over $6000 and I was going to cut my losses just to get him out of my life, but he filed suit against me and left me with no choice but to fight back. When someone who owes you money decides to attempt to sue you for even more, you have to fight back. After successfully defending myself against two lawsuits, with $20,000 in attorney’s fees, as is usually the case, the attorneys won!

      Hope you have a happy Thanksgiving too



      Report this comment

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.