SCAM WARNING: In November 2013 I posted the original post about a scam being practiced on lawyers and their office staff. An alleged FedEx employee claims to have been seriously injured while making a delivery to a Walmart store. His claim includes a Sedgwick adjuster Robert Johnson and a landlord, Mr. Jackson. There is a brother going by the name of Tyrone. The scam is to get the lawyer to send the landlord money cards, Green Dot money cards you buy from Walgreens.
Since that original post I've been contacted by lawyers from several states that include Iowa, California, Spokane, Washington, Harford, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and now Baltimore, Maryland. The scammer is a black man with a thick Louisianan accent. Below are the string of posts you may want to read. If you are contacted please send me an email so I can geographically track them. I will not include your name, unless you ask to be named. If your law practice has paid money let me know and again I will protect your identity. By my count the lawyers are ahead 8 to 0. This blog post has turned into a compendium that will move along, includes a list of articles and the original post follows the list. Good luck with your practices.
TRIPLE DOUBLE DARE WARNING: Today, November 21, 2014 this scamer is working the Knoxville, Tennessee market. A few days ago he was working Mississippi lawyers using the name Randy Lee Williams and giving the phone numbers 901-267-9739 and 225-620-7812 and claiming to reside at 111 Alvin Lane, Napoleonville, LA.
November 18, 2013: Law Practice: The Paraplegic Scam and the story of Po Javontae – Des Moines, Iowa.
December 9, 2013: Breaking News: Javontae's paraplegic scam, moves from Iowa to California! - California
December 13, 2013: Breaking News: Hot off the Dysfunctional Press from the Lombardi Law Firm! – Spokane, Washington
December 15, 2013: More Breaking News: Where is Waldo? He’s in New Haven, Connecticut
December 18, 2013: Does Waldo own a jet? – The Big Apple, New York, New York
December 21, 2013: Paraplegic scammer attempts his scam on lawyers in Baltimore, Maryland
January 14, 2014: News Update: Fed Ex and Walmart Scammers in New Jersey
January 22, 2014: Let’s Rock & Roll with Po Javontae, Baltimore, Maryland - Javontae is back trolling again in Baltimore, Maryland, slight change of reported facts. He’s changed his address to: Napoleon, 111 East Little Texas Road, Louisiana 70390. This lawyer did not bite.
The FBI's Most Wanted List
ORIGINAL POST - November 18, 2013
In this business there are all sorts of scam artists knocking on the lawyer’s door. I’ve experienced several. This past Friday I started the day off in the dentist’s chair when a man called the office with an urgent plea for help with his personal injury case. According to his story he (Javontae Terrell Holloway) is from Louisiana and formerly worked for FedEx in Des Moines delivering packages. He was delivering to Wal-Mart where he got hurt. According to his story the Wal-Mart employee set a ramp but failed to latch one side properly to the truck. As Javontae was backing his forklift out of the truck the ramp gave way and he tumbled over sideways. Of course he was seriously injured and is now rendered a paraplegic. How sad for po Javontae.
The immediate problem is that FedEx cut off his workers’ compensation benefits and he’s about to be evicted from his home in good old Louisiana. Those bastards!
In the beginning FedEx was nice and paid the first surgery bill for $423,000 followed by a quick payment for the second surgery of $272,000. But shortly after that things started falling apart and his benefits were cut off. You see other doctors are saying he needs a third surgery on his head and who knows how much that will cost; after all the first two surgeries done in Iowa City were very expensive. This is terrible. Those bastards! Po Javontae.
As the story unfolds, FedEx started paying him benefits of $428.00 per week for this February 18, 2013 injury, but then suddenly stopped when the doctor said he had reached “MMI”. Anyone in this business knows that MMI stands for maximum medical improvement and Mr. Southern drawl rolled that baby off his tongue like it was warm grits and gravy.
“MMI, Messer Lumbardi. And then they just cut me off.”
Po Javontae, shoot the bastards!
Javontae is pretty upset and I ask who has the telephone number for the FedEx adjuster who is working the case. Even though he’s home he doesn’t have it with him, but his brother Tyrone does and if I call Tyrone he can give it to me. I get Tyrone’s number. After repeated attempts I finally get to speak to Tyrone. Apparently he’s back from whatever else he was doing, but by the end of the conversation I have no phone number for any adjuster, but do realize the rent still hasn’t been paid and Tyrone is warming up the car to go with Mr. Jackson and Po Javontae to sign the papers, you know the release papers.
Wait a minute, “release papers”? What’s this release papers stuff about? For some reason Tyrone’s phone has the same problem with connectivity as Javontae’s. Disconnected again, damn what's happening with Po Javontae during this down time?
In your mind you’re supposed to go, “Po Javontae, he’s about to get screwed.”
At this point in the conversation his life starts sounding like a John Grisham novel because he hadn’t paid his rent for three months and his landlord, the evil Mr. Larry Jackson is threatening to evict him and has already started the legal process to do just that. This sounds urgent!
Oh my, how sad. Po Javontae.
This is where things start getting a little sticky. You see Po Javontae doesn’t want to have to go to the nursing home, but if he can’t come up with da rent money ($450/month x 3 = “three hunded fifty dolla”) that’s exactly where landlord Larry Jackson is going to put him. Can he do that?
I’m not sure how things work in Louisiana, but here in Iowa landlords don’t put renters in nursing homes for non-payment of rent.
Oh my how, sad this story is; we just need a dog dying in the back of Po Mr. Javontae’s pickup truck and we will have a hit country western song.
And just when you think it can’t get any worse it does. You see Sedgwick allegedly has a ruthless adjuster named Robert Johnson (not the real Robert Johnson, see below) who has sent Po Javontae a “release” that is supposed to release both FedEx AND Wal-Mart from any and all liability. And Mr. Jackson is putting pressure on Po Javontae to sign those papers so Sedgwick can pay the rent money and Po Javontae won’t have to go to the nursing home. “Because you know Mr. Lombardi, I don’t want to go to no nursing home, sir.”
Oh my, how sad. Po Po Poooooooooo Javontae.
For some reason we keep getting disconnected. The phone Po Javontae uses keeps hanging up on me. And when I call right back he doesn’t always pick up. He must be on the phone with the evil adjuster. He did tell Barbara he uses one of those phones you buy at Walgreens and he doesn’t have many minutes left.
Really? Po Javontae.
Of course at this point I need to talk with Mr. Jackson because no one should give away a $6 million case for just the $780,000 they are offering. I do get ahold of the mean Mr. Jackson who says he just wants his rent money sir. “I just gotta have my rent monies or Javontae will need to go to the nursing home. He hasn’t paid in three months and I just can’t wait any more sir.” I ask Mr. Jackson how he wants to get paid rent and he has a plan. Mr. Jackson instructs me to go to Walgreens and get a GreenDot MoneyPak. “Yo got Walgreens there don’t you?” He tells me I can get them in $100 increments and will need several to cover the rent. These are nothing more than prepaid Visa cards that will work anyplace. That Mr. Jackson sure is helpful. And as I pointed out earlier, he has a plan.
But between calls Po Javantae wants me to know there is more to tell and the case is developing quickly. “Ya see Adjuster Johnson just called and has now raised the offer from Wal-Mart to $1.2 million, but only if I don’ts hire a lawyer.” And let us not forget that Landlord Jackson is "warming up da car to go ova to sign that paypa."
Po Javontae. Certainly yo not going to sign the release paypa. Please don’t Mr. Javontae.
Po Po Po Po Poooooooooooooo Javontae.
So I being the nice guy I am, begin to chase down an adjuster named Robert Johnson who works for, you guessed it, Sedgwick Claims. Bingo if we get ahold of Mr. Ruthless Johnson I can put the kibosh on this FedEx/Wal-Mart squeeze play which they are allegedly trying to pull off for a song and a dance.
I first try the Sedgwick site map for Louisiana but there is no claim office in Louisiana. That’s a bummer because I was hoping to get a trip in to New Orleans with Katrina. (She told me if we went she’d use an assumed name so as not to bring bad juju with her down to Voodoo Central.)
I call the main number at Sedgwick and the receptionist puts me through to the general claims manager who hooks me up with a Mr. Robert Johnson who works out of the Memphis office. (Wasn’t The Firm shot in Memphis?) I read back the number given to me by both Po Javontae and that ruthless landlord Mr. Jackson and for some odd reason it’s different.
I phone the Memphis office and speak to a real live person who goes by the name of Mr. Robert Johnson who by the way is a really nice guy and who informs me this is all a scam. He like me is well aware no quick settlement could take place because as Po Javontae reported he’d applied for Social Security along with Medicare and was approved. Of course the real Mr. Johnson is pretty upset that so many lawyers are chasing him down in Memphis; and in turn he is in touch with the authorities who I figure is the FBI.
At this point Po Javontae is getting nothing from me except I have to call him back to play with him and to burn up his cell phone burner phone minutes. Life’s a bitch eh Javontae.
In the end I wasted a lot of time and Po Javontae wasted two or three burner phones while getting no prepaid Visa cards.
This is the second time in my career this scam has come my way. I remember it being played out 15 years ago. No money then and no money today. In the end my system worked and I’m out nothing but a little time. Yes, I still like the practice of law and yes I still like New Orleans. But Javontae? Not so much.
So what can we learn from this one? First, this scam can work in any state where there is workers’ compensation. The scammer tries to play off of racial prejudice, uses very poor grammar, acting dumb, stupid and gives few details about the claim itself. He seeks lawyers who have poor investigative systems, are eager for a big case, know little about the areas of Iowa workers’ compensation and the federal social security system along with Medicare. If you understand this area of the law you will pick up that the details he does give do not hang together; so long as you know how workers’ compensation and social security work with Medicare settlements. If you don’t then find a lawyer that does because any lawyer without the proper understanding of how this system works can easily be taken advantage of with the notion a huge and quick payday.
What did P.T. Barnum say, “Unless a man enters upon the vocation intended for him by nature, and best suited to his peculiar genius, he cannot succeed.”
― P.T. Barnum
Some of the Red Flags:
- Sedgwick can’t represent and release both WalMart and FedEx.
- Sedgwick can’t release its liability without FedEx signing off on it and with another surgery in the works FedEx would never consent to such a low settlement.
- The phones being used are burner phones; they have limited minutes so for this number to be useful they need to last through the entire scam. As the lawyer tries to do the interview the minutes are getting eaten up and sooner or later this burner will be empty. This is a concern to the potential client attempting to commit the fraud so he needs to shorten the times or else run out of minutes and need a new burner phone. The excuse is the battery needs recharging. Of course the burner phone is used because it’s untraceable. Lawyers should never cut short their initial interview. Getting the facts is important.
- Few facts are given by the potential client.
- Then there is the problem of phone numbers. You’ll never get the adjuster, because he doesn’t exist. In this place will be just a phone mail drop where he will always tell you to just leave a message or provide a fax number. When you push zero it will never go through to a receptionist, like it would with a real insurance company phone system.
- The phone numbers this potential client provides do not match up with real adjusters who do actually exist. In this instance although there was a voice mail message for a Robert Johnson at the 901-485-6761 phone number it was bogus and used an incorrect area code. Of course the phone number for the real Mr. Johnson in Memphis had an 866 area code.
- These are unsophisticated people who really don’t understand how the system works and this is one instance where Medicare and Social Security provide a nice backstop. The basis of this fraud is urgency; unless the lawyer acts the client will sign away his very valuable case for little money. But none of this made much sense. As an example if the client has applied or is receiving Medicare they are not allowed to settle the case without first doing a Medicare Set Aside and so there can be no quick settlement without the MSA. In this case none had been done so this release would be voidable.
- Addresses can be a give-away. Addresses on E. 6th Street, Natchitoches, LA does exist. I checked it out on Google. [http://goo.gl/maps/trljR] This potential client did provide a street address on East 6th Street in Natchitoches, Louisiana. I won’t give the exact house number just in case there is actually a house there.
- And Mr. Jackson the ruthless landlord lives on Lee Street in Natchitoches, but again I won’t give the exact house number. This address is not shown on Google Maps. [http://goo.gl/maps/LBSZe]
- Po Javontae gave his date of birth as September 4, 1989 which on November 15, 2013 would make him 24 years old. When asked his age he reported it to be 25.
- Weekly Compensation Rate was a rounded number, which it never is. It can be $478.34 but not exactly $478.00.
- When I start really digging for details the phone goes dead without explanation.
- The bottom line is never advance a client or potential client funds in order to get a client to sign up with you.
- Always do a complete interview to obtain facts to know the claim is legitimate.
- Use social media and a Google search to try and locate details that an accident has been reported.
- Be methodical about developing the facts and follow the procedures you’ve created.
- If you don’t really understand the law in an area of personal injury or workers’ compensation associate with an attorney that does. We do a lot of referral work and enjoy working with local attorneys on their cases. If we can help you give us a call.