Nearly 50 lawyers in Canada and the U.S. have told us about a fraud attempt by the purported John Fischer. The wording 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 the initial contact email (note in some cases the email address actually seems to belong to a George Graham, another name we’ve seen attached to frauds):
De: John Fischer
Fecha: Mon, 12 Sep 2011 15:09:41 +0000
Asunto: YOUR LEGAL ASSISTANCE IS NEEDED.
I need your legal assistance. I provided a friend of mine Mr Philip Anderson a business loan in the amount of $350,000. He needed this loan to complete an ongoing project he was handling in 2009. Mr Anderson 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 Anderson 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.
When one lawyer replied, he received this response:
Thank you for your response to my message. Here is some more information regarding this matter. The name of the borrower is Philip Anderson.
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 Anderson 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 Anderson (Who I know very well) has caused considerable strain on my operation capital. I can be reached at 862 218 0902 anytime.
334 Dundas St E,
Belleville, ON, K8N1E9
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.
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Fraud Fact Sheet More 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.