This is a complaint alleging fraud against a 32-year-old woman named Allison Camille Lartigue, who professes to be a “Certified Litigation Paralegal” through her own Limited Liability Company (Allison C. Lartigue LLC) and while working for Hicks Thomas LLP (700 Louisiana Street, Suite 2300, Houston, TX 77002) since March 2021.
I first met Lartigue on Upwork (upwork.com) on January 30, where she submitted a proposal for a job posting. I read Lartigue’s Upwork profile and she seemed promising, with an 89% success rating and a promised 24-hour response time, although the comments on her reviews seem (in retrospect) to apply to someone else, as she was not honest, demonstrated no integrity, seemed unable to proofread her own work, displayed little knowledge of law, and failed to meet critical deadlines. In reviewing her profile, my main concern was that she had 29 other projects ongoing so might not have time to devote to help. Nevertheless, she responded quickly to my invitation—almost too soon for my liking.
Immediately, Lartigue wanted to moved offsite and asked twice to call her at the number she gave me (713-585-0770). After some introductory chat, Lartigue gave a first warning sign by degrading Upwork (“where they are going to charge you more money and they are going to take 20% of my pay”) and suggesting we work through a direct contract outside of Upwork. I specifically asked if that was permitted, but she assured me it was “technically” allowed so long as the contracts “are done a certain way,” which she did not specify. She claimed all she asked from her clients was “a 50% retainer upfront,” because she had “bad experiences with people.” She wanted me to know she was an “honest hardworking person” who was only “trying to save us a few bucks.” Taking her at her word that such an arrangement was proper and permissible, we exchanged email addresses, and she promised to send me an Employment Contract for a “Phase 1 document review that will lead into other projects.” She then swerved into Payment options, and I said I had used Remitly and bank transfers. As a second warning sign, she played dumb and asked, “How do we do bank transfers?,” which you would assume any professed legal professional would know how to do. When I explained the process, she hedged and then said we could use Remitly. We agreed on $400 for document review and she insisted again on payment upfront
As a third warning sign, it took Lartigue 4 drafts of a simple 2-page contract before it could be approved—making mistakes with the spelling of names, getting dates wrong, and being unable to make simple corrections as to prices agreed to. On January 31, I pointed out to her that “I am trying to understand, but this is not one typo but multiple typos that make me VERY nervous. These are your contracts so should be a formality to draft.” In response, Lartigue became defensive and stated that she was a single mother and saying, “I am trying to understand why you are not giving me any leniency for the fact that it’s 3:25 in the morning and I am still awake to try to get this contract to go through.” A fourth warning sign arose when Lartigue gave me two different account and routing numbers—one account on January 30 at 4:50 PM and then a second account on January 31 at 8:47 AM that she denied giving me as of January 31 at 8:53 AM. I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt, told her I would make the transfer, but would not sign the contract until we agreed to talk again on January 31.
Lartigue promised the work would be finished by February 2, but did nothing. From January 31 through February 15, she repeatedly and falsely claimed that monies transferred into her bank account through Remitly never arrived, even though her bank (JPMorgan Chase in Houston) confirmed to the wiring service that the funds in question had been deposited on January 31. When Remitly asked Lartigue to produce a bank statement from January 31 through February 15, proving that no funds had been deposited, she refused and disappeared.
Furthermore, according to the Chair of the Professional Ethics Committee of the Paralegal Division of the State Bar of Texas, "a search of the paralegal certifying organizations (TBLS, NFPA, NALA, and NALS) does not reflect that she is a certified paralegal." According to the Chair, "non-attorneys may not offer their service directly to the public. Freelance paralegals may only offer their services to attorneys." As a non-attorney on the Upwork site, Lartigue offered her services to the public directly, without any supervision by an attorney.
She has ignored multiple attempts to contact her by email and on WhatsApp since February 16, confirming she is a con artist. She is now posting her “services” on Craigslist, giving multiple fake locations across the US, offering legal services that she is not allowed to offer as a non-attorney, so she appears to be searching for more victims.