We have heard from three lawyers that have been targeted by this scam over the last two months, including two that have had ongoing communication with the alleged Yingge Wang in the last two weeks. It appears that this fraud is a set-up for a request to return real estate deal deposit monies paid with a bad cheque. We have seen some slightly different scenarios in terms of type of initial communications, identity offered and how monies arrive.
Yingge Wang is supposedly in the UK and appears to be a very friendly and affable individual that will engage you in an ongoing conversation via many back and forth emails. The email addresses he uses have included YinggeWang@rocketmail.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
In two cases it appears Wang contacted a local real estate agent and then mentioned their names in the first contact with the lawyer – thus appearing to come from a trusted referral source.
He has provided various identity documents, including a Chinese passport, a UK driver’s licence, and a sworn identity statement from a non-existent UK lawyer named Matthew Sinnane at DLC Solicitors (this is a real law firm in Lancashire, UK), samples of which are here (click to enlarge):
Following several emails going back and forth, some lawyers have received a cheque that is to be used for a deposit, payment of fees, house inspection etc. In one fraud attempt the cheque was a BMO cheque in the amount of $60,800, a copy of which is here (click to enlarge):
The money for one of these deals came via FedEx courier from someone purporting to be Mr Lawrence Saito (contact info 347-298-4526 or email@example.com) who supposedly resides in Manitoba (but note, 347 is a New York City area code and the FedEx waybill indicated the cheque came from 219 Yonge Street in Toronto – a fake address). In another case it came directly from Wang. On one of the matters the following ID card was presented as ID for Saito (click to enlarge)
If you have been targeted by this fraud, please forward any of the emails you have received, as well as scanned or faxed copies of the letter, the cheque and the front of the envelope or courier package they came in to firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax to 416-599-8341.
If you have been successfully duped, please immediately notify LAWPRO (instructions on how are here), as there may be a claim against you.
Further fraud prevention information and resources are available on the practicePRO Fraud page (www.practicepro.ca/fraud), 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.