Houston lawyer Richard Merrill thought it was a routine piece of work when a Houston real estate agent contacted him about helping a British doctor purchase a house in Houston. But Merrill’s bank determined a $500,000 down-payment check was bogus, and Merrill figured out the prospective house-purchase deal was a scam.

Merrill says he’s going public with his close call, because he wants other Texas lawyers to identify the scam a lot faster than he did.

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