By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, NJ Elder Abuse Attorney

An elderly person receives a letter from the account manager of an international bank. The letter concerns one of its deceased customers who happens to have the same last name (we’ll call him Mr. Jones). The account manager says Mr. Jones died in a horrific car accident and left an account with no beneficiary upon death. Mr. Jones also died intestate, meaning he had no Last Will and Testament. Oh, yes and one more key fact, Mr. Jones had $40 million ($$$) in the bank when he died.

The account manager goes on to declare he found Mr. Jones’ contact information while searching for his next of kin and/or someone with the same last name. For the past several years the bank has been unsuccessful in finding any next of kin. The letter states that bank laws require that accounts remaining dormant for 3 years with no activity revert to the government treasury as unclaimed funds.

The account manager concludes his letter with a proposal. He would like a family member with the same last name, “Jones” to be the next of kin to claim the $40 million in the account. The letter tells the family that “since Mr. Jones is from “America” and both persons share the same last name, it’s easy to become his official next of kin.”

The letter concludes with an offer. The manager will do the work and split the account balance 50/50 with the family. He assures that everything will be handled legally in accordance with inheritance laws but it is important that the family keep this arrangement confidential and email his private email address and not contact him at the bank.

If the Jones family ever had any experience with estate administration in the past they should quickly recognize this letter as a fraud. For those who have no knowledge of the estate administration process, however, some of the statements in the letter sound reasonable and/or plausible. In my next post I’ll explain why this tale is utter nonsense and what the Jones family would likely “gain” from pursuing the account managers offer.

To discuss your NJ Elder Abuse matter, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at  Please ask us about our video conferencing consultations if you are unable to come to our office.