Collaborative family law agreement collection scam by Beverly Kawashima [updated January 17]
Description of Potential Fraud:
In January 2011 an Ontario lawyer exchanged emails with the purported Beverly Kawashima. That conversation is reproduced below.
The messages this fraudster sent are virtually identical to messages other lawyers have received recently on collaborative family law agreement scams from the purported Kathy Cheung and Peggy Higashi.
Subsequent to our first post we have had several other Ontario lawyers advise us they have been targeted, as well as an Alberta lawyer. We have also been advised that lawyers in several U.S. states have been targeted. See this post for the email conversation that occurred with a U.S. lawyer and the documents that were provided in support of the fraud attempt.
The conversation went as follows
From: Mrs Beverly Kawashima. <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Mon, January 3, 2011 2:28:23 PM
Subject: Re: I am in need of your Legal Representation.
My name is Beverly Kawashima. Got your email contact on yahoo search engine, and i am now writing your firm in regards to a divorce settlement with my ex husband Mackenzie Kawashima who resides in your
I am currently working in S.Korea. We had an out of court agreement (Collaborative Law Agreement) for him to pay $950,500.00 plus legal fees. He has only paid me $251,500.00 since. I am hereby seeking your firm`s assistance in collecting the balance from him.
He has agreed already to pay me the balance but it is my belief that a Law firm like yours is needed to help me collect/enforce payment from my ex-husband or litigate this matter if he fails to pay as promised.
I do mainly criminal defence work. How did you come to contact me?
sir ,,i saw ur contact on google..can u help me
I can do the work you need but my hourly rate is $500. 00 and I would
need a retainer of at least $7500.00 before I would start any work.
Where does your husband or ex-husband live and does he have a lawyer
I thank you for your prompt response. Currently am living in South Korea for an assignment ,I tried calling a couple of times and with the time difference(+13hrs EST) it is a little bit difficult to gauge
the best time to reach you vice verse. My ex-husband (Mr Kawashima) and I agreed under this Collaborative Law Agreement for a one time cash settlement of $648,450.00 usd to his credit, he has paid me $148,000.00 usd but still owing $500,450.00 usd.
My ex-husband who is currently in USA is aware of my intention to seek legal actions. I will be pleased to provide further information on this matter onrequest. I expect this to be a non-litigation matter. I have already advised him I am planning on retaining your firm in USA,Since he resides in USA at the moment. If possible please send me a retainer agreement so that we can proceed. Thank you and have a pleasant day.
As soon as i hear from you,i will send you a copy of our colaborative agreement so i can inform him that i have already gotten a firm that will represent me.
ADDRESS: RM 206,357 -33, SHINDANG – DONG, CHUNG -GU, SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA
Also let me know if you have read the attachment documents along with this email.Pls i am waiting to hear from you so i can send you collaborative agreement so i can know if you are willing to help me
Mrs Bevery K
If he is in the USA you should retain an American lawyer. I practice in Toronto, Canada. I can suggest a lawyer in New York city if that is the state he is in.
The jerk of a ex-husband called me this morning..and i told him i am already trying to get a law firm to sue his ass…he later confirmed that he moved from USA to Canada on dec11th because of some business exploration..he said he will be in canada for the next 4months…i wasnt suprised because he does normally live in both countries because of his nature of work..he also has assets in canada too.
so let me know how you wish to take up this matter.,…as for me…your retainers fees is acceptable to me,..pls send me retainers agreement..so i will know you are willing to help me.
let me know if you will give me a legal representation here ,because i am in need of the remaning part of my settlement..my son is sick..and he needs to go for operation..dat money will do a lot of Good.
pls let me know if you recieved my ID card and divorce degree
i will send you collaborative agreement we had when i hear from you.
Other than emails I did not receive anything from you. I have just made plans to be out of Canada from Jan 31 to March 3. So you may want to seek to hire some other lawyers to help you.
sir..i think you can help me before you travel out of canada,below is attached collaborative agreement we had. pls send me retainer agreement and also name and address to send retainers fees to
also send me your telephone number so we can see how this works.
The information I have received is that this is likely a scam. I will be contacting the Law Society about our communications
all this lawyers.???
all u guys think about is scam..
help me if you want to help me
If you have been targeted by this fraud
This appears to be a bad cheque scam (for details on how these work see this earlier AvoidAClaim post)
If you have been targeted by this fraud, please forward any of the emails you have received to email@example.com.
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.
For more immediate updates on fraud and claims prevention, subscribe to the email or RSS feed updates from LAWPRO’s AvoidAClaim blog.