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An Attemp To Trap A Lawyer

One day when my law office was on the 3rd floor of an Ardmore building on W. Main, I had a client named Harvey walk in without an appointment.

In my office he displayed to me an IRS income refund check in amount of $1,800 payable to John Doe and Susie Doe, husband and wife. I turned it over and saw that John had endorsed it but not his wife.

“Well, what’s the deal, Harvey?”

“Well, I was in a bar last night and this John Doe sat beside me, introduced himself and showed me that check. He said the barmaid had agreed to sign Susie’s name on the check for $50 and if I could get it cashed, he’d split it with me. What’s your advice? I could sure use $900! I’m going to meet John tonight at the same bar.”

“My advice is don’t do it for any amount of money. The IRS can go back 7 years and reverse a bank credit so you’ll lose all of it. Don’t do it, Harvey.”

“What if I just have $10 in my bank account? Then I can’t lose!”

“You asked me for my best advice and I gave it. Don’t do it, third time.”

“There’s something else, counselor. Years ago I served 3 years in Leavenworth federal prison for forging a Social Security check.”

“Geez, now listen closely, Harvey. That means the Secret Service will indict you in federal court and you’ll get 10 years or more. When a bank credit is reversed, the bank’s insurance company will reimburse the bank and then request the Secret Service investigate. Now, if you promise me you’ll give the damn check back to John, you owe me zero. If you’re going to be an idiot and cash the check, pay Pam out front $50.00. Now, get out.”

After he left, I went to Pam’s desk, got her receipt book and there, in her handwriting, was a receipt for $50.00 cash from Harvey.

Fast forward 3 years. Harvey walked in again “Recognize me?” I looked him over, “Yeah, Harvey something – an IRS check?”

“Yeah. You remember telling me that I should have the barmaid forge that $1,800 IRS check but you wanted your cut?”

“What did you just say?”

“You wanted $500 out of the IRS check. You did, James!”

My temper flared and I started around the desk, intending to knock his damned head off. He held up his hands to stop me and grabbing a piece of paper and a pen, he wrote in large letters: I AM WIRED! He then pointed to the north parking lot, then left.

Parked at the back of the lot, I saw a 4-door black Ford sedan with whip antenna. I called Pam in and we watched Harvey get in the rear seat of the Ford. I then dictated the truth of what happened into the microphone. Pam was my witness.

I saw Harvey 3 months later when he walked into my office again. He had a huge smile on his face and I could tell he was excited. “What happened in court, Harvey?” He grinned, said, “The feds indicted me and the judge appointed a federal public defender to represent me. I pleaded Guilty and the judge said that I had held up my part of what he called, a “sordid” deal, whatever that means and he gave me 30 days in jail! Did you hear me, James Clark? 30 days! Hell, I can do 30 days on my head!”

“You’re a lucky man, Harvey. Now, we’re done. Get the hell out of my office and don’t come back!”

He grinned, said, “How much do I owe you, James? I can write you a check!”

“Get out!”

I never saw him again but I strongly suspect that someone, somewhere, is missing a US Treasury check.
-james a clark