Reno, NV asked in Employment Law, International Law and Internet Law for Nevada

Q: Liability for Independent Contractor processing payment checks?

I am an independent freelance contractor who has been contacted by a potential employer for virtual assistance. They are hoping that I can commit transactions for customers on their products and process orders for their customers in form of checks. I am wary of the opportunity as it seems a little phishy, but the job opportunity and pay would be good for me. What should I get from them to confirm that they were a legitimate business? They've written a contract and I said that I would commit to work if I can amend the part that says I deposit customer funds into a personal account, and instead into a business account that THEY the business owns.

1. DESCRIPTION OF SERVICE. Beginning on February 18, 2018. __ will provide the following services; Prepare the invoice and send out to customers who are willing to purchase our products, receiving payment from customers. To process the payment, you proceed with the check deposit in your bank account via the mobile deposit/over counter.

1 Lawyer Answer
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
  • International Law Lawyer
  • Potomac, MD

A: This is a very common Internet fraud that lawyers have been seeing for at least a year. I used to get a couple such emails a week. I guess they’ve moved on to non-lawyers, because I warned someone off this on last week. Most likely, the checks you receive are bad, but they take 2 weeks to fail to collect, usually because they are international, and by that time, you have issued some or all of the payment from your bank account to the defrauders. You are responsible as indorser for the bad checks and for defrauding the bank.

In a recent variant, the foreign party claims they will get the money to you in a liquid form, such as wires. If that is really true, and I haven’t confirmed it, you are probably conspiring to commit money laundering. You need a legal review before doing this, because there is a 98.5% chance this is a crime, and you are either the victim or the criminal.

If it looks to good to be true, run, don’t walk, to the exit.

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