An Ontario firm notified us that they received an email from the purported Toshihiko Nunokawa of Toko Electrical Construction 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: Toshihiko Nunokawa [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Sunday, November 16, 2014 10:10 AM
Subject: I am interested in your services.
I am interested in your services, Please confirm if your services are available
Kojima Law Offices
Replying to the email brought this response:
Thanks for the responds, Our Client is Toko Electrical Construction company here in Japan and they have customers all over North America and Canada, they sell their product to most companies in North America but distance and time factor as cause delay for them to receive payment from customers.
We want to retain your service to receive payment from our customer in your jurisdiction, Scope of work, customer will make payment to you or your firm for goods we supplied them there is no law suit involve, it sprightly Trust account receivable, our cause of action to retain your service is that customers are always corporative when they know the account representative are lawyers or a law firm, this way there will be this way there will be no delay receiving payment. Our client have had so much delays in receiving payment from customers causing them thousands of dollars and delays in productions, payment range from $200K-650,000.00USD these will be of great benefit to you as our client are a multimillion dollars company our client have discussed this with their customers whom are ready to start making payment.
If you require the name of the customers to conduct your conflict check below
LUX Electric Contractors – Toronto, ON
Kojima Law Offices
Gobancho Kataoka Bldg. 4F
Gobancho 2-7 Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo 102-0076 Japan
How to handle a real or suspected fraud
If you have been targeted by any of these frauds, please forward any of the emails and supporting documents that you have received to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you suspect you are acting on a matter that might be a fraud, call LAWPRO at 1-800-410-1013 (416-598-5899). We will talk you through the common fraud scenarios we are seeing and help you spot red flags that may indicate you are being duped. This will help you ask appropriate questions of your client to determine if the matter is legitimate or not. If the matter you are acting on turns out to be a fraud and there is a potential claim, we will work with you to prevent the fraud and minimize potential claims costs.
If you have been successfully duped, please immediately notify LAWPRO as there may be a claim against you. Instructions on how to report a claim are here.
For more immediate updates on fraud and claims prevention, subscribe to the email or RSS feed updates from LAWPRO’s AvoidAClaim blog.
Fraud Fact Sheet More fraud prevention information and resources are available on the practicePRO Fraud page, including the Fraud Fact Sheet, a handy reference for lawyers and law firm staff that describes the common frauds and the red flags that can help identify them.