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Zoey, JD
Zoey, JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 26463
Experience:  Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
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I think I've become a tool to a con artist. I was processing

Customer Question

I think I've become a tool to a con artist. I was processing orders for a "artist" and now I've received calls saying these orders were not placed. What do I do? How do I proceed?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 1 year ago.
Hello,
My name is ***** ***** I will be assisting you with your question.
How were you "processing orders?" Have you met this artist/employer on real time?
This sounds like it's going to be a police matter, but I really could use some more details on the nature of the enterprise and your relationship with the con artist.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Well he was looking for an assistant to help him take and charge orders. I created a webpage for him WWW.aevirtualgalleries.com . I opened a square up and boa merchant account and ran credit card orders for him. I've been doing this for 2 weeks now and have processed almost 5000 dollars in sales. Today bank of america called me and said my merchant account was high risk and not to process anymore orders. Now I have not heard from him all day since I asked for proof of the orders
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 1 year ago.
How did you find this job? Have you met your boss? Is he in another country? Who's got the $5,000 that you have logged in sales? Are you to wire him some and keep some for commission
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The money I've sent has been in the us Indiana and Washington yesterday which also freaked me out. I found the job on a posting online. I interviewed with him through a web service. So I felt pretty secure in what I was getting into. He has paid me for the last 2 weeks 300 dollars taken out of the sales and I've never heard of a con artist having you create an entire webpage for them. I just need to know what I can do to protect myself financially and to get these poor people their money back if in fact it was a scam.
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 1 year ago.
This sounds like a very sophisticated version of the standard job scam, where you're processing orders, depositing the money in an account where you're the only signator, wiring back most of the money and keeping your so-called commission as salary. Meanwhile, this is a way your "employer" is either ripping off people legitimately ordering art or he is placing orders himself with stolen credit card numbers. Either way, he's committing fraud and you've been his unwitting accomplice.
Unfortunately, if this account is yours, the account holder is strictly responsible for monies in and out of his account. So the person who owes these poor people their money back is going to be you, because if the artist is an outright fraud, even though you're as much as a victim as those other people, when the people who didn't get their orders institute chargebacks, the only person who the banks will be able to find is you.
You'll have to make good the $5,000, and your remedy would be to sue your so-called "employer," who is going to be nowhere to be found. If you don't, this will cease to be a civil matter and the various banks will turn the matter over to the authorities for prosecution.
You need to find yourself a criminal lawyer as soon as you can because what you need to do is to report this to the FBI and your police as a sca and turn over everything you know to help the authorities find the scammer. If you do that without a lawyer, you could end up incriminating yourself, so this has to be handled correctly, since what you have been doing was not legal, even if you didn't realize it.