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Date First Reported: October 2011

Primary Name Associated: Steven Stafford

Description of Potential Fraud:

fraud-warning

Two Ontario lawyers lawyers have notified us that they’ve received emails from the purported Steven Stafford or Steven Stafford Mark looking to retain them with regards to a breach of a business loan agreement. This is similar to other frauds of this kind we have seen. For a full description of how this fraud works and to see other names attached to it, see our Confirmed Fraud page that deals with business load frauds.

Here is an example of the email:

Message from Steven Stafford [email protected] on Fri, 14 Oct 2011 16:29:49 -0400 —–
To: lawyer name
Subject: 回覆︰ Litigation Counsel

Dear ,

I am a private lender who lends Investors, small companies and individuals funds on a fixed term to invest and in return pay back with interest. On January 5th, 2009, I lend Annrick Electric Inc., the company who is located in your jurisdiction the sum of $680.000.00 with interest on two years fixed term and to pay back January 5th, 2011. Attached to this mail is the agreement we signed.

There has not been any attorney working on this case. Different payment dates have been promised and I still have not received anything. Advice from my friends was to seek legal assistance which is why I contacted you to act for me in retrieving these funds. In my last contact with my Borrower, I was told I would receive payment not later than Mid January 2011 and till now, nothing has been paid.

Please do get back to me so I can furnish you with the required details to contact my borrower and receive my funds as I know these companies respect law firms and do not want to be carried to court. Before we proceed I will like you to forward your fee/retainer agreement for me to review and if okay, sign and return for you to begin work, also, include your firm payment information should in-case they want to make a full or partial payment they owe.

Thank you for your anticipated co-operation and understanding. Contact me should you require more information.

Regards,

Stafford Steven M

One lawyer who replied had the following exchange:

Good day to you and thanks for responding to my email. Please pardon my late email response as my condition does not allow me to stay long on the computer. I am currently now in Asia on a charity work.

I am a private lender who lends Investors, small companies and individuals funds on a fixed term to invest and in return pay back with interest. On January 5th, 2009, I lend Wagner Electric, the company who is located in your jurisdiction the sum of $380.000.00 with interest on two years fixed term and to pay back January 5th, 2011. Attached to this mail is the agreement we signed.

There has not been any attorney working on this case. Different payment dates have been promised and I still have not received anything. Advice from my friends was to seek legal assistance which is why I contacted you to act for me in retrieving these funds. In my last contact with my Borrower, I was told I would receive payment not later than Mid January 2011 and till now, nothing has been paid.

Please do get back to me so I can furnish you with the required details to contact my borrower and receive my funds as I know these companies respect law firms and do not want to be carried to court. Before we proceed I will like you to forward your fee/retainer agreement for me to review and if okay, sign and return for you to begin work.

Thank you for your anticipated co-operation and understanding. Contact me should you require more information.

Regards,

Stafford Steven Mark.

Enclosed is a proposed Agreement for Professional Services. Kindly review it carefully, and if it meets with your approval, please execute and return it to this office, with the retainer, at your earliest convenience.

While this may seem unduly formal and detailed, experience has taught me that our attorney-client relationship will be far more agreeable if we have a complete written understanding of the arrangements between us.

Should there be questions or problems regarding this matter, please feel free to call or email me at your convenience.

Good day to you. Sorry for the delay not getting back to you soon as promised. Work has been highly demanding over here lately. Attached herewith, is the signed, scanned retainer’s agreement and I would advise you acknowledge the receipt.

This is also to inform you that my borrower {Wagner Electric} has just confirmed to me that they have issued a partial payment in the amount of $180,000.00 and additional $5,000 as retainer fee as you’ve requested in your firm’s name. Do confirm to me upon receipt of the funds.

Please note that as soon as you receive the funds, you are to deduct all your charging fees and wait for further directives from me.

Once again, thank you so much for making this happened.

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.