Five Ontario lawyers and one BC lawyer have notified us that they’ve received emails from the purported Barbara Duckett 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.
This is the initial contact message (Note that this fraud has also been reported to us with Roland Webster named as the debtor):
From: Barbara Duckett [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: December-04-11 6:09 PM
To: lawyer name
Subject: breach matter
I am inquiring about the possibility of your firm representing me in the litigation of a breach matter in the amount of $486,950.00.Please advice if this is your area of practice so I can forward you copy of the documents and full information of the debtor Mr.Peter Ivanov.
282 Cyncoed Road
Cardiff, S GLAM CF23 6SA
A lawyer who replied received the following response, counterfeit ID, and agreement between Duckett and the debtor (in this case, Roland Webster):
Thanks:I am so sorry for the late response.I had some family emergency.Below is the name of the borrower:
Amount Borrowed- $389,000.00
Interest rate- 7.75 a year
The Borrower is someone I have known for a few years and we have done business in the past without any issues.He has only paid $65,000 out of a total ($389,000) 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 an engagement letter from your firm. I expect this to be
a non-litigation collection from the borrower but I am prepared to litigate this matter if Mr.Webster is not ready to pay the balance owed on the loan agreement.
I have attached to this mail a pdf version of the loan agreement promissory note for your perusal.Please send me a copy engagement letter so that we can proceed with this issue with Mr. Webster. I want to also let you know that as a owner of a small business,this loan that I gave to him has caused considerable strain on my operational capital.
Other lawyers have received the following counterfeit cheque and cover letter:
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.
For more immediate updates on fraud and claims prevention, subscribe to the email or RSS feed updates from LAWPRO’s AvoidAClaim blog.
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.