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Commercial debt collection scam using the names Marvin Wanga and MaverickWan Import & Export Co

March 06, 2015 By: FraudInfo Category: Confirmed frauds

An Ontario firm notified us that they received an email from the purported Marvin Wanga of MaverickWan Import & Export Co looking to retain them with regards to a commercial debt collection.

This is a classic bad cheque scam that presents as legal matter requiring the assistance of a lawyer. In this scam lawyers will be duped into wiring real funds from their trust accounts after depositing a fake cheque received as payment from the debtor (who is part of the fraud). See our Confirmed Fraud Page for more of an explanation of how these frauds work and to see other names associated with it. Our Fraud Fact Sheet lists the red flags of a bogus legal matter that is really a fraud.

Here is the initial email from the fraudster to the lawyer:

On 03/02/15 6:48 AM, Gabriel Poliquin wrote:
——————–
Dear Marvin,

Thank you for your interest. Please send me the details by email to see if we can represent you. We need to do a conflict search. Best,

On 02/24/15 3:53 AM, Marvin Wanga wrote:
——————–
Dear Gabriel,
I am inquiring about the possibility of your firm representing me in the litigation of a breach of loan agreement. Please get back to me if this falls within the scope of your practice so that I can send the copies of our agreements and more information.
Warmest Regards,
Marvin Wanga
Email:mmaverickwan@yahoo.ca
Tel:1-289-888-3085
Company Name: MaverickWan Import & Export Co. LTD

Replying to the email brought this response:

Thanks for the prompt response.Sorry for the late response but I only just saw your mail in my junk folder,I would have preferred to meet with you but my present location does not permit that to happen immediately, but should my presence be needed in court or otherwise then I’ll have to make that trip. In discussing the loan, please find attached a copy of the Loan agreement which I feel should explain my situation a lot better.Frederick is someone I have known for a few years and we have done business in the past without any issues.He was the husband of my late sister and he also introduced me to construction equipment sales and rental services.He came to me requesting a loan of $485,000 because he was in some financial difficulty and needed a bail out, and since I considered him family because he was always there for my sister before she died, I decided to loan him the money provided he repaid it back on or before the 13th of September 2014 which he agreed to but hasn’t done so.
I started requesting he pays what he owes me in January 2014 he paid back $112,000 and has paid nothing more since. I have told him I need my money urgently but he keeps telling me that he will get the money to me soon.The painful part in this whole situation is he claimed he doesn’t have the money to pay me now but he just made a payment for some construction equipment over $1,500,000.00 for his business.
I have my own business which has not been doing well lately and I sure can do with those funds right now. My health is failing and I have problems of my own and need all the money I can get. I’m tired of requesting for repayment and need you to file a legal claim against him in court so a collection process can be initiated against him. I need him to understand how serious I am about getting my money back.I am prepared to pay a reasonable retainer or collection costs for this service as soon as I get an engagement letter from your firm. I expect this to be a non-litigation collection from the borrower but I am prepared to litigate this matter if he is not ready to pay the balance owed on the loan agreement.Below is the name of the borrower for your conflicts check:

NAME-Frederick Dean

Sincerely,
Marvin Wanga
Company Name: MaverickWan Import & Export Co., LTD

How to handle a real or suspected fraud Read the rest of this entry →

Separation agreement scam using the name Tami Jones

March 06, 2015 By: FraudInfo Category: Confirmed frauds

An Ontario firm notified us that they received an email from the purported Tami Jones looking to retain them with regards to a collecting overdue payments resulting from a separation agreement.

This is a classic bad cheque scam that presents as legal matter requiring the assistance of a lawyer. In this scam lawyers will be duped into wiring real funds from their trust accounts after depositing a fake cheque received as payment from the debtor (who is part of the fraud). See our Confirmed Fraud Page for more of an explanation of how these frauds work and to see other names associated with it. Our Fraud Fact Sheet lists the red flags of a bogus legal matter that is really a fraud.

Here is the initial email sent by the fraudster to the lawyer:

From: jimmyph@iprimus.com.au [mailto:jimmyph@iprimus.com.au]
Sent: March-05-15 2:59 PM
Subject: Dear Counsel

Dear Counsel,
I’m requesting for your legal services for an enforcement of Spousal and
Child’s support settlement agreement against my ex-husband. If you are
interested in rendering this service, please kindly advice immediately for
more details.

Yours truly
Tami Jones

How to handle a real or suspected fraud Read the rest of this entry →

Proofread that will!

March 05, 2015 By: Nora Rock Category: Wills/Estates

There are not many guarantees in life, but this is one of them: If you proofread – properly – each and every will you create, you will substantially reduce your risk of a malpractice claim.

Proofreading well is a highly underrated, non-universal skill. However, since lawyers proofread documents on a regular basis, most have a fairly accurate awareness of their own level of mastery of this process. The weaker proofreaders among us may even suspect that proofreading ability is an exotic innate gift − like ESP, or opera singing − and that we should just resign ourselves to a certain error rate.

Don’t believe it. While some people are naturally more perceptive and detail-oriented than others, anyone can improve their accuracy by adopting a systematic approach and taking the time to apply it.

Don’t have a system? Consider the following steps as a starting point.

1. Make the time: Adopt the discipline of allocating sufficient time to the proofreading function. Your client has hired you to direct the final disposition of his assets. How highly do you think he would value your accuracy? Proofreading with care means reflecting the client’s priorities in how you spend your time.

Unless completing the will is very urgent, don’t draft the will and proofread it on the same day. Many good proofreaders find that they are more likely to identify problems when they review a document afresh after setting it aside for a day or two.

2. Be focused and undistracted: Create an environment that increases your chances of accuracy by eliminating noise and distractions. Also, reserve proofreading tasks for the time of day when your focus and attention are sharpest.

3. Use a checklist: “Structural” problems, like omitted provisions – may be easier to spot if you have a checklist against which to compare a finished will. Develop your own checklist, or find one you like. A good checklist will include a listing of all essential will provisions, and will prompt you to ask yourself questions about contingencies that can arise from the specific details of the estate and the instructions.

4. Print the will and read it on paper: Many good proofreaders claim that they proof better on paper. Doing this can also reveal technical glitches that may arise, for example, from using an electronic precedent or form. Are there provisions that appear onscreen, but are hidden from the printout for some reason? Big oops.

5. Read it aloud: Reading a written document aloud can help identify errors that the eye skips over: for example, omitted qualifiers, or double negatives.

6. Use a visual aid: When it comes to identifying substantive problems with a will, you should consider what kind of thinker you are. Not all of us solve problems by focusing on words. If you have high spatial intelligence, you may want to confirm the logic of the will by drawing a diagram: for example, a flowchart that tracks conditional gifts or remainders and gift-overs.

7. Pay attention to names: Did you know that “Jack” is a traditional nickname for a person named “John”? A testator of a certain vintage may give you instructions referencing both Jack and John… who are the same person! Confirm the spelling of names, and use names consistently throughout the document. Avoid nicknames.

Pay similar attention to company names and the names of charitable organizations. You can research official charity names on the website of the Canada Revenue Agency.

8. Check facts, not just language: There are two aspects to proofreading: substantive review and language review. You need to pay attention to both. Don’t let correcting problems with language distract you from the task of questioning the meaning of the terms you are including.

Major newspapers and magazines employ fact-checkers who research the factual basis of every statement, location, date, etc. in a story before it’s published. Practice reading like a fact-checker: notice each fact alleged, and ask yourself whether it requires investigation. With respect to a gift to a husband, does your testator mean her current husband, and are they married? Could they actually be living common-law because she never divorced her first husband?

If anything in the will seems unusual, or reverses an instruction from a former will, ask the testator to explain his reasons for the provision. Record the reasons in your file.

Finally, catastrophize, and entertain unlikely scenarios. The will is likely based on certain common assumptions: for example, that parents predecease children, married couples stay married, and valuable assets hold their value. What if these assumptions turn out to be wrong? Will there be ambiguity about who should inherit?

9. Proof against the instructions:
The most important tip on this list is to confirm that the will is consistent with the client’s instructions. Proof the will against your notes, and then ensure that your client reviews it carefully prior to execution. These essential steps are skipped more often than you might think − sometimes with dire consequences.

10. Enlist a second reader: Finally, hand the will over to someone who didn’t draft it, and who is a reliable proofreader. You may be shocked to find that they will still discover errors. But you will have taken all the steps in your power to create an accurate product.

Nora Rock is corporate writer and policy analyst at LAWPRO. This article originally appeared in the June 21, 2013 edition of The Lawyers’ Weekly

When taking instructions isn’t taking instructions

March 05, 2015 By: Ian Hu Category: Civil litigation, Diversity, Risk management strategies

How does a diverse population and profession affect our ability as lawyers to settle files, facilitate the purchase of homes, and help businesses grow?

It turns out that a number of claims have arisen in recent years where either lawyers have made bad assumptions about their racialized clients, or where racialized lawyers have been taken advantage of on account of their cultural, ethnic, and/or religious backgrounds.

I am reminded of a case I worked on some time ago. My clients, a woman and her husband, were injured in a car accident. The woman took the brunt of it, while her husband escaped with minor injuries. We attended a mediation. The day had gone well. By the end of the day we had reached a number I could recommend. Up to that point the husband spoke on behalf of the couple.  When I turned to the wife and asked specifically for her instructions to settle, she said yes. I was struck, however, that she cried at the same time she said so. Her whole body shook. The incongruity between what she said and how she reacted is etched into my memory. Sometimes taking instructions isn’t taking instructions.

Client interviewee waiting nervous

I took her into another room where we sat and talked for what seemed like a long time. She explained to me that in her culture her husband made all the decisions. But the car accident and this decision would affect her life forever. She could not settle at the number and she only said yes because her husband wanted to end the litigation.

We did not settle that day. Down the road we resolved the matter for both wife and husband in a way satisfactory to both. The lesson – to work with a rich understanding of our clients’ cultural backgrounds – has stuck with me since.

Click here to read Lorne Shelson’s article in the September 2014 issue for more stories on how claims can arise where cultural diversity is an issue.

In what ways have you dealt with the challenges of a diverse bar and clientele? Feel free to share.

What lawyers need to know about data stored on mobile devices

March 04, 2015 By: TimLemieux Category: Technology

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Rob Lekowski, writing in the ABA’s Law Technology Today blog, explains to lawyers what kind of data can be obtained from their mobile devices. LAWPRO has written on the security of mobile devices from the point of view of cybersecurity, but Mr. Lekowski points out that devices are also being collected for litigation more and more often, so lawyers should know what kind of data is on them.

What kind of data? Between the functionality of the device itself and whatever apps are installed, data could include location information, messages and browser history. Click here for the full article, including an explanation of how this information could be extracted for litigation purposes.

Commercial equipment purchase scam using the names Dereck Oerlemans and Damen Group

March 04, 2015 By: TimLemieux Category: Confirmed frauds

A Florida firm notified us that they received an email from the purported Dereck Oerlemans of Damen Group looking to retain them with regards to making a large commercial purchase.

This is a bad cheque scam that presents as legal matter requiring the assistance of a lawyer. In this scam lawyers will be duped into wiring real funds from their trust accounts after depositing a fake cheque received as payment from the purchaser (who is part of the fraud). See our Confirmed Fraud Page for more of an explanation of how these frauds work and to see other names associated with it. Our Fraud Fact Sheet lists the red flags of a bogus legal matter that is really a fraud.

Here is the initial contact email sent by the fraudster to the lawyer:

On 03 Mar 2015, at 9:53 am, Damen Group dagroupoerlemans@outlook.com wrote:

Greetings!

Please get back to me if your law firm does handle purchase & sales agreement, howe ever I will accept a referral if you do not. Thank you

Dereck Oerlemans
International Sales Manager
Damen Group
Industrieterrein Avelingen
West 20 – 4202 MSGorinchem
The Netherlands

How to handle a real or suspected fraud Read the rest of this entry →

Commercial debt collection scam using the names Masayuki Sekita and Japan Art Collection Inc

March 04, 2015 By: FraudInfo Category: Confirmed frauds

Two Ontario firms notified us that they received an email from the purported Masayuki Sekita and Japan Art Collection Inc looking to retain them with regards to a commercial debt collection.

This is a classic bad cheque scam that presents as legal matter requiring the assistance of a lawyer. In this scam lawyers will be duped into wiring real funds from their trust accounts after depositing a fake cheque received as payment from the debtor (who is part of the fraud). See our Confirmed Fraud Page for more of an explanation of how these frauds work and to see other names associated with it. Our Fraud Fact Sheet lists the red flags of a bogus legal matter that is really a fraud.

Here is the initial email from the fraudster to the lawyer:

From: Masayuki Sekita [mailto:masayusekita@info.com]
Sent: Monday, March 02, 2015 9:07 AM
Subject: Re:Important

We need a commercial litigation lawyer to handle a collection matter in your
jurisdiction, I will also need a referral if this is not your line of
practice.
Thank you as I look forward to your response soonest

Masayuki Sekita
Chairman (CEO)
Japan Art Collection Inc.
Kocho Building, 2-1-6 Shibuya,
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8905,Japan
Email: masayusekita@gmail.com

How to handle a real or suspected fraud Read the rest of this entry →

The Law Society’s Historic Discipline Data Project

March 03, 2015 By: TimLemieux Category: Announcements

WR_Duff_OSGOOD_HALL_TORONTO_9983_414

In 2011 the Heritage Committee of the Law Society of Upper Canada began a project to document the disciplinary records in the LSUC archives (which go back to 1797). The aim is to make these records available to future researchers, and record such information (where available) as the nature of the complaints, the name of the person against whom the complaint was made and the outcome of the matter.

A chronological listing of the disciplinary matters from 1879 to 1913 has now been published, with additional years to be added on an annual basis. The full report on the project can be found here.

While most of the complaints are not matters LAWPRO would deal with (books improperly borrowed from the library, students impersonating lawyers, lawyers charged with crimes, etc) the report’s findings do reveal some issues that still result in LAWPRO claims today:

  • “A number of the complaints arise in the context of the lawyer’s involvement in litigation. It is not always clear from the available information how the lawyer’s behaviour is impugned, leaving open a question of whether the complaint is about sharp or unethical practice of some type or may in fact be about quality of service.”
  • “…breakdowns in communication between lawyer and client.”
  • “…economic downturns leading to higher numbers of infractions, increase in direct client complaints”

Some things seemingly never change!

Fraud report for February 2015

March 03, 2015 By: TimLemieux Category: Fraud prevention

The pace of fraud emails and posts slowed somewhat in February compared to the previous month. We received 166 emails from lawyers (down from 187) and posted on 9 new fraud attempts (half the posts of January). The could partly be the result of a shortened month.

54% of the emails this month came from the U.S., 45% from Ontario, and only 1% from elsewhere in Canada and overseas.

6 of the 9 posts dealt with commercial debt collection scams, with the remainder being business debt collection and spousal support collection. Click here to read about the various email fraud scenarios.

Click on the images below to see our latest fraud reporting information.

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Diversity Week @ Osgoode: Cultural Competence

March 02, 2015 By: Ian Hu Category: Communication errors, Diversity, Law Practice Management, Practice aids, Uncategorized

This past week I participated on a panel to discuss diversity in our profession as part of celebrating Diversity Week at Osgoode Hall.  The students were concerned about life as a lawyer where there is a disproportionate representation of racialized people on the bench and in the bar. Will we be judged on merit? Will we fit in? In the words of one of the students: how much of ourselves do we keep and how much do we discard in the effort to adapt?

Raj Grewal, Troy Ungerman, and @IanHuLawpro

Troy Ungerman, Raj Grewal and @IanHuLawpro

We should focus on developing “cultural competence”,  the ability to connect with people who are different from us. Early in my career I was keen to show my mentors that I could do good work. Most of the time the instructions were clear and it was relatively easy to understand what I had to do. On a few other occasions, however, I was criticized for not conducting research or further work even when I was instructed not to. Was there an issue with my ability to communicate in this foreign new culture, namely, the law firm? Clearly there was a communication breakdown. If I had probed further perhaps the issues would have been clarified.

What are some ways to improve cultural competence? We asked diversity consultant Ritu Bhasin for some tips in our September 2014 Diversity issue.

1. Put on your cultural lens by pausing to consider whether there is “something culturally going on”, in the sense that culturally-based beliefs or behaviours – whethers your or someone else’s – are influencing your interaction.

2. Ask questions to learn more about the other person’s culture so you can better understand their expectations, behaviours and assumptions.

3. Reflect on your own reactions by considering whether you are making negative judgments about others’ differences, or about culturally-based behaviour. Are you making assumptions or associations instead of actively trying to understand? 

Success as a lawyer at any stage involves a high level of cultural competence. Whether you are dealing with a racially insensitive lawyer or a bullying lawyer, cultural competence is the hand that will hold you through the tough times. It is a skill that can be developed and trained.  Click here for more tips on how to develop cultural competence.