In the recent years, the number of fraudulent schemes cases related to tracking of electronic correspondence and manipulation of attached documents has significantly increased. Victims of these hackers are legal entities and / or physical persons from different countries communicating mostly on-line as nowadays business is mostly done virtually. Consequently, the so-called "hackers" use their computer skills and take advantage of the contracting parties. The sole purpose of the hackers is to enrich themselves unjustly at the expense of the deceived person.
The scheme usually develops in the following way: two or more parties enter into negotiations and conclude a contract, which could have a different content (for example sale and purchase of goods or provision of services). The client shall pay to the supplier the agreed price and the latter shall fulfil its corresponding obligation. The supplier sends via email an invoice with the IBAN of its bank account. The fraudsters “catch” the invoice with the real bank account details, replace the IBAN with their own bank account details, and send the manipulated invoice to the client using a fake e-mail resembling the e-mail of the supplier. As a result, the price is transferred by the client to the fraudsters’ account.
In this situation, if the money is transferred to an account of the hackers in a Bulgarian bank, the following actions may be taken in accordance with the laws of the Republic of Bulgaria for recovery of the sum to the deceived person:
a) First, the competent authorities (police, prosecutors) of the country where the deceived physical or legal person is registered should be notified as soon as possible after the fraud is discovered. They should inform the corresponding authorities in Bulgaria. The aim of these actions is to ensure the blocking of the money at the earliest stage so that fraudsters cannot withdraw the amount of money. Later, the money can be blocked also by imposing interim relief – attachment of bank accounts – granted by the courts.
b) Second, a statement of claim for unjust enrichment should be filed before the competent Bulgarian court. In case the money is blocked in the account of the defendant in the Bulgarian bank, the recovery will be easy after the court issues a decision in favour of the deceived person.
c) It is possible, however, that fraudsters manage to transfer the money to a third physical or legal person prior to the attachment of the bank account. Such third party will also get enriched unjustly and shall bear responsibility under Bulgarian law. In this case, besides the claim for unjust enrichment, a claim under Article 135 of the Law on Obligations and Contracts shall be filed, the so- called Actio Pauliana, against the beneficiary of the initial transfer (the fraudster) and the third party (usually also part of the fraudulent scheme). The aim is declaring the bank transfer between the fraudsters and the third party as null and void because it was intentionally made to harm the deceived person. If the court honours the claim, the amount shall be returned to the deceived person through a bailiff.
Law Firm Mikov and Attorneys has successfully represented clients with similar cases before the Bulgarian courts and public prosecutors.