This post contains the amazing back-and-forth email exchange between a lawyer and a fraudster that occurred over the course of four weeks. (See the post on the Melissa Andersen fraud for another amazing back-and-forth email exchange between a fraudster and a lawyer.)
This is an example of a bad cheque on a real estate deal deposit fraud (i.e., a bad cheque is given by the purchaser as a deposit on a real estate deal and the deal ends up being aborted, triggering a request to pay the deposit back to the purchaser or to a third party).
This exchange highlights the extent to which fraudsters are willing to engage a lawyer acting on a matter in a discussion and how much detail they will provide in an attempt to sound legitimate and dupe a lawyer.
Dear Lawyer First Name Last Name
The following content is from an individual who has discovered you through Lawyerahead.
Message: Dear Counsel My name is Siam Rai, Software Manager in TISCO BANK PUBLIC COMPANY LIMITED in Thailand. I want to use this medium to seek your assistance. I am retiring soon from office and I am planning to relocate to the Canada to establish a private Consulting office on security softwares, Oil & Gas, I want to buy a permanent home there in your locality or any other place within your jurisdiction, I need you to negotiate with a Realtor on a particular house, hence I want to retain your services to assist me in reviewing the contract andother paper works. I am contacting you because i saw that you also deal on real estate in your profile, kindly advise on how best to proceed. Regards, Siam Rai firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to see the rest of the messages.
Dear Sir: Perhaps you can tell me what type of home you are interested in and the price range?
Lawyer First Name Last Name
Thanks for your swift response, i want you to swing into action immediately. I need a choice property that would worth between $1,000,000,00 and $1,500,000,00; a 5 bedroom,5 baths and garage for 2 cars in any city in Ontario. I need you to represent me as my attorney to protect my interest. Just make me a good choice of a house. I am prepare to acommodate your retail as stated in your mail.
I want you to prepare your retainer fees an agreement to be signed by me and you. As soon as we have concluded all the paper works for the property, i would begin to send you the required funds for both the retainer and the purchasing amount in a certified check. Kindly treat this as very urgent.
NOTE:I want to stress that this project be kept very confidential as I still work for TISCO BANK PUBLIC COMPANY LIMITED and cannot stand being exposed at this stage of the transaction.
I wish to use this mail to remind you that i have not received anything from you after i responded to the last mail from you. I am prepared to accommodate your retainer and ready release funds for it.
I need you to prepare an agreement that all parties would sign before i will send a certified check across to your law firm. I need to buy this property and relocate from Thailand to Canada with my family.
I will be very glad if my matter can be given a speedy consideration.
Note: Kindly send me the Retainer Agreement in a Micro-Soft Word format to enable me print, sign and return it back you immediately.
Thank you for your followup phone call today. Here is the retainer agreement and client identification form for completion by you and return to my office with a colour copy of your photo identification documents. I will not accept your retainer until you have provided the C$5,000.00 retainer funds and your certified check has cleared my bank. There will be no exceptions to this rule.
I am indeed happy to inform you that i have executed the agreement enable us proceed. I need you to do same on the space provided and send me a copy. I am making arrangement to prepare a check in your name to be sent to you. My Funds managers would be contacting you in the 24hrs time with a view to provide you the retainer as well as a downpayment for the property. I will be all give the other document to an attorney here to execute and would be sent to you when it is ready.
Attached is the signed agreement.
Kindly acknowledge with a reply
Subject: NOTIFICATION LETTER OF PAYMENT
To Whom It May Concern:
Be informed that we (Premiums Financial Management) have been mandated to forward funds to you on behalf of Siam Rai. You are advised to contact Mr. Ken Lar Jr. (one of our investment consultant officer) by telephone at his direct #: 1-646-807-2217, or via his email address (email@example.com) to enable him to facilitate the payment.
Please be notified that it is imperative that you call Mr. Lar Jr. on the telephone in order for him to confirm some pertinent information regarding Siam Rai’s request. Note that the funds will not be disbursed until we have been able to speak with you over the phone.
You could call us between the hours of 9:00am to 7:30pm (EST). The above stated phone number is a telephone and a fax, so if you call and you get a fax signal please try again in 10 minutes, we are most likely awaiting a facsimile transmittal.
Please direct all enquiries to the undersigned for further clarification and prompt attention.
Ms. Stephanie Gordon
I have not receieved a response from you as regard my last mail to you in which i attached the retainer agreement. I need you to give me the name that the check would be made payable to so that i can forward same to my funds managers immediately. I have also asked my funds managers to contact you today or tomorrow.
Till i hear from you,
Please make check out to XXXXXXXXX Law Office Professional Corporation
How are you doing today, i want to find out if my funds managers Mr.Ken Lar Jr. From Premium Financial Management has contacted you yet, i need you to get back to me when as soon as that happens.
I received an email but when I called the number there was no answer.
How was your thanksgiving celebration yesterday, i tried calling you several times yesterday until i was informed that it was an holiday.
This is a follow up of my last mail to you.
I have forward the client ID verification to another attorney so as to facilitate endorsement of it. I am paying more attention to the funds now and my funds managers has not been able to reach because they are complaining of your email address, in the light of this, i want you to contact them immediately with the details below,
Name: Mr. Ken Lar JR
Position: Investment Consultant Officer
Company Name: PREMIUMS FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
Location: Head Office, New York, New York
Office Tel / Fax: 1-646-807-2217
I want you to send an email to notify them that you are my attorney in Canada, i contacted you to buy a residencial property in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. I have already directed that funds should be released to you in a certified check so that you can commence the legal service i am seeking for.
Please Call the number immediately after you have sent an email to them today.
Kindly get back to me accordingly to update me as you get in touch with Mr. Ken Lar Jr.
I am sorry, if you are as this message indicates asking me to assist you with buying a property in Fort McMurray Canada, I must indicate to you that you would be better to retain a lawyer from the Province of Alberta, preferably one from Fort McMurray. I am sorry that I am not going to be able to help you.
Secondly, it is your responsibility to supply the retainer monies to my office. I am not going to chase your funds manager as you have suggested. If you have given my contact information to the funds manager, he should be capable of phoning my office from New York.
I have not received any mail from you for a while now. However i was informed by Mr. Ken Lar that you will be recieving a certified check of $386,000 todday monday or tomorrow tuesday. I want you to deposited the check into your account so that, you can deduct your retainer from it, as i will be using the balance for a down payment of the property. I will need you to send me the deposited slip when you have deposited the check into your account as i need to have my financial records straight as well.
Your urgent response will be appreciated.
The check has not arrived yet. Nor has your client identification information which was sent to you with the retainer agreement. I will not deposit the check until I have all client information from you. There is no solicitor client relationship between you and me until these issues are dealt with.
Attached are the vital documents that you requested.
I need you to send me a copy of the deposit slip of the check.
I have already sent you the needed documents yesterday, i need you to get back to me with details of the evidence of deposit of the check so that i can file same as i have already told you in the past.
I tried your numbers today but could not get you.
I am verifying the identity documents. I have not yet deposited the retainer cheque. I do need your telephone and fax numbers to be able to contact you directly. I have not yet accepted your retainer.
I do appreciate that you want to do a good job however, i want you to do what is necessary by depositing the check because, i am already planing to come over to meet with you in Canada.
I am on vacation and presently looking at properties in the UK, and would be in Canada when i am done here. If you really want to contact me directly, you can call me immediately on +44-703-596-5761. I need you to call me as soon as possible.
I have started making plans on securing a property in Ontario, please do not delay the process.
I find it disturbing that you have not deposited the check after receiving it for a while now. You only told me that i should provide you some requirement, I do not want you to keep the check a little longer in your office but to deposit it into your account to enable the funds clears. I have provided all that you asked for, i want to ensure that everything is taken care off today.
If you have been targeted by this fraud, please forward any of the emails you have received to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call LAWPRO at 1-800-410-1013 (416-598-5899) if you suspect you are acting on a matter that appears like it might be a fraud. 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. In the event the matter you are acting is 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.
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.
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