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Date First Reported: July 2011

Primary Name Associated: George Graham

Description of Potential Fraud:

fraud-warning

An Ontario lawyer has informed us that he has been contacted to collect a business debt by a person purporting to be George Graham. The emails are similar to fraud attempts we have seen under the names David Lawson, Mark Ludic and Ma Li Ni.

Here is a sample of their conversation as well as the ID and retainer signature from the fraudster. Note the different emails used, as well as the fact that the passport is American yet the retainer was signed in Belleville, ON.

From: George Graham [email protected]
Sent: Monday, July 18, 2011 12:29 PM
To: George Graham
Subject: LEGAL ASSISTANCE.

I need your legal assistance. I provided a friend of mine Mr Brian Roberts a business loan in the amount of $350,000. He needed this loan to complete an ongoing project he was handling in 2009. Mr Roberts is well based in your city and the loan was for 12 months and interest rate of 7.85%. The capital and interest were supposed to be paid on February 4th, 2010 but Mr Roberts has only paid $50,000.

Please let me know if this fall within the scope of your practice so that I can provide you with the loan documents and any further information you need to know.

Thanks,
George Graham

Dear Mr. Graham,
I am able to assist you. The rules of our Law Society require us to have proof of identity of all new clients. I would therefore ask that you send me a copy of your passport and/or driver’s license, along with the loan documents and a certified cheque for my retainer in the amount of $3,000.

From: George Graham [email protected]
Sent: Monday, July 18, 2011 2:55 PM
To: Lawyer Name
Subject: RE: LEGAL ASSISTANCE.

Hello Bruce,

Thank you for your response to my message. Attached to this email is my passport and here is some more information regarding this matter. The name of the borrower is Brian Roberts.

The Borrower is someone I have known for 6 years and we have done business in the past without any issues. Like I stated in my previous email, He has only paid $50,000 and the balance is still outstanding till this day. I am in constant contact with him and even though he has promised to pay the balance, I think the threat or possibility of litigation would serve as a catalyst to make him pay sooner rather than later.

I am prepared to pay a reasonable retainer or collection costs for this service as soon as I get copy of your retainer . I expect this to be a non-litigation collection from the borrower but I am prepared to litigate this matter if Mr Roberts is not ready to pay the balance owed on the loan agreement. I attached a pdf version of the loan agreement promissory note. If you are happy to proceed, kindly send me a copy of your retainer and if the terms are acceptable I will sign so we can commence the process without delay.

I want to also let you know that as a owner of a small business, this loan that I gave to Mr Roberts (Who I know very well) has caused considerable strain on my operation capital. I can be reached at 862 218 0902 anytime.

Regards

George Graham

I enclose my general retainer agreement. Please execute and return with a certified cheque or money order in the amount of $3,000.00. To comply with our Society’s requirements for dealing with a non-resident client I will need picture I.D. with your address on it-like a driver’s license and the contact information of someone who will be able to independently confirm your identity. Usually we use bank officers for this purpose.

From: George Graham [email protected]
Sent: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 2:53 AM
To: Lawyer Name
Subject: RE: LEGAL ASSISTANCE.
I have signed and attached the retainer agreement document to this email. I will need your wire information for the retainer fee to be wired to you. Please send this at your earliest convenience. In the meantime, I have sent a note to Mr Roberts letting him know that I am in advanced stages of retaining your service as this might spur him to pay-up because I know he is avoiding litigation.

Many thanks,
George


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 [email protected]

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.

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Fraud Fact SheetMore 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.