Collaborative Law Agreement Scam by Dennis Luo Nicholas
Date First Reported: March 2011
Primary Name Associated: Dennis Luo Nicholas
Description of Potential Fraud:
An Ontario lawyer advised us today that she has received an initial contact email message based on this scam where the fraudster is using a new name: Dennis Luo Nicholas. Looks like there is a new round of these frauds using new names (See new AvoidAClaim blog posts on Adrian Benavides ,Gloria Lee and Anita Bell scams). This initial contact message suggests a payment is owed further to a collaborative law agreement and it is identical to those used in previous fraud attempts we have seen by Kathy Cheung, Peggy Higashi, Beverly Kawashima, Jennifer Wong and Zaira Hoshiko.
Over the last several months, hundreds of lawyers from across North American have reported to us that they received various versions of these messages. The reports to us are the tip of the iceberg – clearly thousands are being targeted. These fraudsters will actively respond to communications, sign retainer agreements (but not pay retainers as promised), provided identity documents and other supporting documentation, including copies of the collaborative agreement, a payment agreement and ultimately a fake cheque or bank draft. See the above posts for samples of these documents. One Ontario lawyer was successfully duped by this fraud. For a more detailed description on how these bad cheque scams work see this earlier AvoidAClaim post.
Here is the initial contact message and subsequent emails between a lawyer and the fraudsters:
From: “Dennis Luo Nicholas”
Sent 3/27/2011 12:06:55 PM
Subject: **SPAM** *Hi Counsel.
My name is (Dennis) Luo Nicholas. I am contacting your firm in regards to
adivorce settlement with my ex-wife (Jenice Nicholas) who resides in your
jurisdiction. I am currently on assignment in Japan. We had an out of
courtagreement for her to pay $348,450.00 plus legal fees. She has only
paid me $44,000 since .I am hereby seeking your firm to represent me in
collecting the balance from her. She 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 payment from my ex-wife or litigate this matter if she fails to
pay as promised.
Dennis Luo Nicholas.
I apologize for the delay in responding to this. It was caught in my junk mail box which I just checked this morning.
I would be happy to assist in this. Perhaps a phone call is in order at your convenience, or it you prefer we can correspond via e-mail.
We will have to start with as much information as you can provide in regard to her and her assets, and send over a copy of the judgment/order if you have it and if not I will track one down.
Ref’ to your response, I cannot speak or call you as I am very busy at the moment but would appreciate we communicated via email for now The written settlement agreement or decree of divorce which sets forth the terms of payment, But be rest assured that on or before tomorrow you should have the entire required Doc; that would allow you act on my behalf.Once again, let me inform you that it’s based on the noticed I received from her representative that lead me in contacting you for yourservices.I believe you will act promptly immediately receive of the document and also would like us to communicate via email for now Thanks once again for your response …..Expect my response in a couple of days
Wait to hear from you
Dennis Luo Nicholas
If you have been targeted by this fraud, please forward any of the emails you have received to [email protected].
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If you are a LAWPRO insured, please 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.