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Refereed articles

Phishing in the world wide web ocean: Roestof v Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr Inc – A case of cyber laundering through an attorney’s trust account – p 49

This article explores the situation where money was fraudulently transferred out of the account of an attorney via a phishing scam and then laundered through the trust account of a well-known firm of attorneys. The legal profession has become a target for money launderers to clean their ill-gotten gains. Especially attorneys' trust accounts are vulnerable to being transformed into instruments of crime. This article explores the situation where money was fraudulently transferred out of the account of an attorney via a phishing scam and then laundered through the trust account of a well-known firm of attorneys.

The trust account of an attorney has a certain credibility which attaches to it and it is thus easy for criminals to launder the money whilst the process enjoys the protection of such a trust account. Legal practitioners utilise the internet to shift money through cyberspace and execute their financial transactions on-line in matters, such as, conveyancing and other commercial transactions. They should therefore be vigilant that this type of technology can be exploited by criminals as occurred in Roestof v Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr Inc. Attorneys' firms must be cautious when they operate their trust accounts and should try to put mechanisms and safeguards in place with regard to electronic transactions. Attorneys also have the added responsibility to be on the lookout for suspicious and unusual transactions in terms of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act.

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