Exclusive: BWB lawyers' identities stolen by scammers
19 May 2017
Staff at Bates Wells Braithwaite have had their profiles stolen by con artists.
Fraudsters have lifted the photos and profiles of six BWB staff. A research analyst, a junior solicitor, a senior associate, a partner, a paralegal and BWB's business services head can all now be found running a new and very dodgy firm called 'Allen and Partners Ltd'.
BWB research analyst Simon Epsley has enjoyed a massive promotion and is now a partner called Luke Barkley, Esq., while associate Alex de Jongh has been allowed to keep his surname but lost his first, and become a Julius. Non-lawyer Peter Bennett, BWB's Partnership Executive Officer who runs business support, has been renamed Paul Allen and is now the unwilling founder and managing partner of his own, highly corrupt firm. In a small slip, the fraudsters have left in references to 'Allen' taking responsibility for "services from across BWB
||Instruct the ones on the left, because all the ones on the right are a man in a Lagos internet cafe.
Raising suspicions rather than allaying them, a PDF certificate of incorporation from Companies House takes pride of place on the sham firm's home page
. It is genuine, but relates to Allen & Partners, a small management consultancy in Scotland.
In a clue to the nationality of the fraudsters, the rest of the website is ripped off wholesale from a genuine Nigerian firm, Elesinmogun & Egwuatu. In a rather hurtful slight the con artists removed all the African firm's lawyers and replaced them with BWB staff (and the senior partner of a Jersey firm, Baker & Partners). However it did at least move the coloured dots on the map to London, and change EE's logo to a pyramid getting shafted.
RollOnFriday set a honey trap for the scammers, but so far there has been no response:
A spokeswoman for BWB said, “While we’re flattered that some of our lawyers have been deemed sufficiently intelligent-looking to be the faces of a fictional law firm, we are taking steps to ensure the content is removed. BWB is the only place you'll find most of the people behind those picture
s”. Last year Burges Salmon
lawyers were also deemed sufficiently pleasing to the eye
to be lifted by chisellers.