weather icon Drizzle

Contract fraud: The most popular game in town

We live in litigious times. Bob is suing Fred, Fred is suing Bob, ABC Company is suing XYZ Company and lawyers are proliferating in numbers at rapid speed.

Look around you — ads on billboards, ads for personal injury on television (especially the foreign language stations watched by immigrants), and enough class-action suits to destroy any number of Fortune 500 companies.

Whistle blowers? Oh, yeah. Discrimination? Worker’s Comp? Disability? Bring ‘em on.

While there are approximately 1.3 million lawyers in the U.S., just slightly over one million of them are actively working as such. Scariest of all is Washington, D.C., where there are more than 51,000 lawyers among a population in the range of 630,000.

The overall U.S. population is about 320 million, although almost 25 percent of those are under the age of 18. That means one out of every 240 adults in the U.S. is a lawyer. And that, in turn, means contract law (the result of contract wording and construction) becomes very important to the other 239 of us.

If fraud is defined as “gain through misrepresentation,” it’s a very thin divider between misrepresentation and “intentional confusion via legal mumbo jumbo.”

Don’t get me wrong, I wholly believe in mumbo jumbo because fair court decisions must rely on legalize. Lawyers understand the language of legalize because they spend four years in law school learning it. But to regular folks, it might as well be Chinese, Japanese, or mumbojumboese, and that’s where good and trusting people get caught with their monetary pants down. We too often skip over the big words, instead relying on trust of the system.

Stop it!

People constantly ask me the same question. “Leslie, how can I PROTECT myself?” My response is, “you can’t, not 100 percent, but you can lessen your exposure.”

Here’s how:

Thoroughly read all contracts. Read them right to left, left to right, right-side-up and upside-down. Remember “The Devil Is In The Details.” If you do not understand something, get it clarified, in writing, or take your business somewhere else.

If you are given a verbal assurance along with a big smile — even from a choirboy — get it in writing. Big smiles do not stand up in court.

There’s mumbo jumbo and there’s MUMBO JUMBO. The first is routine; the second is often intentionally deceitful. If every second word has six syllables and sentences are 50 words long, run (don’t walk) away.

Avoid one-way streets. If you are asked to sign something that offers full protection to the other party and almost nothing to you, chances are you’re heading for a bad experience.

When the stakes are high enough, find a good and honest lawyer. Do not base your decision on a billboard or a TV ad. Do the research.

Get a referral from a trusted source, determine the cost up front, and it really helps if your Mom and the attorney’s Mom have been best friends for at least 30 years.

Drop by the Pahrump Valley Times offices, 2160 E. Calvada Blvd., for a copy of Leslie Kim’s latest book “123 Main Street … the Scamming of America.” Only $19.95 while supplies last.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
High school rodeo returning to Pahrump

The Nevada State High School Rodeo Association will return to Pahrump this weekend at McCullough Rodeo Arena, in conjunction with the 7th annual Pahrump Balloon Festival at Petrack Park.

Nye County Democrats turn out for early voting

For the first time ever, the Nevada Democratic Party made the decision to expand its caucus process by including early voting this year and residents from all across the state turned out in droves to participate, with long lines reported at many of the early voting locations throughout the Silver State.

Nye County School District Superintendent Dale Norton set to retire

For more than 30 years, Dale Norton has been an integral part of the Nye County School District family, starting his career as a principal in Amargosa and eventually making his way up the ranks to become Superintendent, but his time with the Nye County School District is now nearing its end.

Nye County narrowly passes resolution praising Trump’s accomplishments

On Wednesday, Feb. 19, just three days before the Nevada Democratic Caucus, the Nye County Commission narrowly approved an official resolution outlining President Donald Trump’s accomplishments throughout his time in office.

Nevada and Nye GOP set for weekend of events in Pahrump

This coming weekend may be quite an exciting time for the Nevada Democratic Party, with eyes around the nation focused on the Silver State’s 2020 Democratic Caucus, but the Nevada Republican Party isn’t allowing the other side of the aisle to revel in the spotlight all on its own.

“Bowling for Heroes” at Pahrump Nugget brings in more than $4,000

The “Bowling for Heroes” event, held Sunday, Feb. 9 at the Pahrump Nugget Bowling Center to benefit Wounded Warrior Project was a huge success, according to event organizer Denise Flanagan.

Nye County Sheriff’s Office set to use ankle monitors to relieve jail crowding

The Nye County Sheriff’s Office is set to relieve crowding in its detention center with the use of an ankle monitoring system. On Feb. 4 the Nye County Commission gave the go-ahead to a monitoring and services agreement with Illinois-based company Track Group Inc.

Nevada Democratic Caucus early voting starts this weekend

The process of awarding delegates to the array of candidates vying for the Democratic presidential nomination is underway, and Nevada will the be third state in the nation to voice its presidential preferences.