I am currently negotiating in a similar scenario. Although no requests for money has been sent through, the modus operandi as you explained it is very similar. In this case it is a Japanese family and British Barrister. I also received a family picture ..... not impressed :-)
Look out for the following names: The Fukashi Zutayo Family working with Gary Walters Esq, the address for the family is: 20 vauxhall bridge road london sw1v 2sa united kingdom. The "barrister's" e-mail is email@example.com and the original e-mail came from this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope these details will be useful to others who are about to fall into the same scam.
A few tips to scare them off or to find out if the offer is legitimate or a scam. If you reply to an offer of this nature, ask the following pertinent questions:
1. A Skype address from the employer and Lawyer with whom you will be dealing
2. The occupation, contact details and reference letters for the person offering you the contract. It is your good right to know that he is employed and can in fact afford your salary for the duration of the contract.
3. A street address of the proposed living out accommodation
4. Get this information before you send ANY personal details to them.
1. The contract letter I received was 'signed' by the Lawyer, but not on an official Letterhead and contained no normal legal terminology.
2. A prominent lawyer will not normally use a Yahoo or G-mail account
3. No employer should offer to pay in cash.
4. Do NOT feel pressured into signing any Contract Letter to "get the ball rolling" as they often ask you to. They need your signature for the scam to work.
I hope this helps somebody.
Happy Job Hunting