Area of Law: Fraud and Fraud Recovery
Answer # 1516
Contact a Fraud Recovery ExpertRegion: Ontario Answer # 1516
Decide what you want to happen
In an attempt to recover the loss, fraud victims often pay expensive lawyer fees. However, this can prove even more costly to the victim if no recovery is made. Therefore, fraud victims should first consider what they hope to achieve before entering potentially expensive retainer agreements with lawyers hired to recover the loss.
Recovery of assets is normally the first and most important objective. However, while the fees paid by a fraud victim for a recovery of their assets should not be greater than the recovery itself, discovery of the fraud and retribution may be equally, if not more important to the victim.
It is often difficult to estimate what the legal fees will be when litigating a fraud case, as the fraudster’s response is unknown. There are normally three possible scenarios:
- If the fraudster chooses to fight, getting to trial and obtaining a judgment often comes at an extremely high cost to the victim.
- If the fraudster chooses to leave the jurisdiction, obtaining a judgment may not be very expensive, however, recovery may cost more than the amount of the judgment.
- If the fraudster chooses to surrender, this often leads to a settlement process and the legal fees should not be an obstacle to recovery.
Find the right fraud recovery lawyer for you
Like most areas of law, fraud recovery law is an area of expertise that should be engaged in by lawyers with experience and education in dealing with such cases. In Canada, many national and full-service firms employ fraud experts. There are also boutique law firms who specialize solely in fraud recovery.
Finding the right lawyer or law firm for you is important. Some things to consider are:
- The expertise and experience of the lawyer,
- If you feel comfortable with their advice and their plan for your case,
- The rate the lawyer charges, and
- The type of retainer (the way they will be paid) the lawyer is willing to agree to.
Lawyer’s fees – types of retainers
The type of retainer a lawyer agrees to often reflects how willing the lawyer is to share in the risk of recovery.
Traditional fee-for-service retainers
The traditional fee-for-service retainers provide no guarantee of recovery. The fraud victim is charged fees, often on a monthly, or task or event basis, and the victim carries all the risk of the litigation and recovery.
Blended fee-for-service retainers
Both the fraud victim and the lawyer share the risk of the litigation and recovery in blended fee-for-service retainers. A lawyer will work for a percentage of their hourly rate, such as 50%, plus payment of his or her disbursements. In this situation, the other half of their fees are either paid, or negotiated, from the money recovered.
Deferred fee-for-service retainers
In deferred fee-for-service retainers, the lawyer carries all of the risk of recovery, because they are only paid from funds that are recovered, with the victim getting any excess amounts from recovery. These types of retainers usually carry conditions, such as:
- the client pays for disbursements,
- the client pays any adverse cost awards, and/or
- the lawyer alone decides the settlement and litigation strategy, and the client must cooperate with the litigation process.
Deferred fee-for-service retainers are common in cases where the fraud victim cannot afford to litigate.
Contingency retainers are more often used in personal injury cases rather than fraud recovery cases. In a personal injury case, lawyers can recover assets from an insurance company or other debtor who is obligated to pay if the defendant is found liable. Recovery amounts in fraud recovery cases are often not sufficient to satisfy a contingency retainer.
If you discover you are a victim of fraud, it is a good idea to contact a fraud recovery expert for advice.
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