Mireille Appert with her late uncle John Appert who left her his Blackbutt house, which was sold last year. Almost $150,000 was hacked by fraudsters when it was wired to a US bank by a Kingaroy law firm.
Mireille Appert with her late uncle John Appert who left her his Blackbutt house, which was sold last year. Almost $150,000 was hacked by fraudsters when it was wired to a US bank by a Kingaroy law firm.

How scammers got woman’s $150k inheritance

A SWISS woman in the US has lost her inheritance - ­almost $150,000 from the sale of a Queensland house - after a wire transfer from a law firm was hacked.

Mireille Appert, 67, who inherited a Blackbutt house from her late uncle John Appert has been trying for months to recover money lost when sale proceeds were wired to the wrong account.

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Mrs Appert's son Alexandre Matti said his mother, who lives in Georgia in the United States, had been struggling financially and was stressed over the loss.

"It's been more than five months now and my mother is without her money and without her house,'' Mr Matti said.

"The worst and most difficult (thing) right now for her is knowing that she should have approximately $150,000 in her bank account, but instead, she tries to deal every day with debt collectors and financial struggle.''

Mr Matti said US authorities were investigating what was believed to be a Nigerian hacking scam.

He believes the fraudsters accessed the money using a fake "transfer authority'' less than 24 hours before the property sale's closing day last year.

Mr Matti said a conveyancer with KF Solicitors of Kingaroy sent $148,554 to a company account unconnected to his mother, despite her emailing her personal US bank account details to the law firm.

 

the Blackbutt house left to Mireille Appert by her late uncle John Appert.
the Blackbutt house left to Mireille Appert by her late uncle John Appert.

 

He said after the first wire transfer, when the money was returned by the bank, the law firm then sent it again, to the company account, and the fraudsters took the money.

Mr Matti said his mother could not understand why the law firm did not contact her to confirm her account information, after it got the money back the first time.

It was not until 10 days after the first wire transfer that Mrs Appert found out that some emails she and the law firm received were sent by fraudsters, Mr Matti said.

He said his mother paid the law firm $1100 in conveyancing fees.

Lexon Insurance, a subsidiary of Queensland Law Society, was informed of Mrs Appert's case on August 19 last year.

Andrew Kelly of KF Solicitors said he could not comment as a claim was now with the indemnity insurer and Lexon Insurance declined to comment.



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