Wired: “Fraudster Who Impersonated a Lawyer to Steal Domain Names Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud
“A Nevada man pleaded guilty Thursday to his plotting to steal URLs from their legitimate owners by impersonating a California intellectual property lawyer and send threatening letters to domain name owners in hopes of convincing them to turn over the domains to him.
Las Vegas resident David Scali registered the email address trademarkinfringement@netzero.net in 2006 and then, pretending to be a real Califonia lawyer (whose intials are K.Y.C.), threatened domain name owners with $100,000 trademark infringement suits, unless they transferred the domains within 48 hours.”

Practice pointer: Very often a domain name registrant will justify a refusal to acknowledge a demand letter by pointing out (correctly) that there is (some amount of) fraud regarding domain names. When sending a demand letter, do not rely on email alone, and provide verifiable contact info. If acting on behalf of a client, when communicating with the registrant by email, visibly cc the client by email (with the client’s permission, after discussing with the client the pros and cons of so doing).