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Date First Reported: August 2011

Primary Name Associated: Fred Williams

Description of Potential Fraud:

fraud-warning

An Ontario lawyer has notified us that he was contacted by a fraudster purporting to be Fred Williams of GSX Technology Solutinons, looking to retain him for the purposes of collecting on a commericial loan. A series of emails were then exchanged, culminating in a fake cheque arriving at the law firm. This scam is similar to other debt collection scenarios we have seen. For a full list see our Confirmed Fraud page. For details on how this fraud works see our Fraud Fact Sheet.

Reproduced below are the emails received by the lawyer as well as supporting documentation and a scan of the fraudulent cheque.:

Subject: Acknowledgement
Date: Wed, 27 Jul 2011 13:37:52 +0000
From: FRED WILLIAMS
CC: recipient list not shown: ;

My company is seeking legal representation in the issue of the default sales agreement. My company supplied hardware and telecommunications equipment to a client that resides in your city. The name of the client is Mr Trevor Hamilton ( Customer Number : WTU28903) and the amount on the default sales agreement is $917,894.30. I will send you a copy of the sales agreement and related sales invoice as soon as you let me know if is an issue your firm can handle.

Best Regards,
fred williams,
GSX Technology Solutions
2600 John St, Markham,
ON, L3R 3W3
Tel: 1-905 699 4646

The lawyer responded asking for more details:

Hello Attorney,

Customer Info:
Trevor Hamilton
SANDVIK MATERIALS TECHNOLOGY CANADA
425 McCARTNEY STREET
ARNPRIOR, ON K7S 3P3

I have attached the sales agreement and invoice. The buyer Trevor Hamilton has been a customer of ours for almost four years now but I must say we are very disappointed at his refusal to pay the full balance despite the 30 days of grace and credit granted to him and his company. At this point my company has no other alternative than to attempt to litigate this issue at the risk of negatively affecting our business relationship. In this current economic climate, we cant afford to to have $956,894.30 pending indefinitely with a customer.
I understand that your firm must be retained before any attempt to collect from Mr Hamilton. I am therefore requesting that you send me a copy of your retainer agreement or engagement letter, and if the terms are acceptable to me, I will sign it and arrange for the retainer payment to be sent to your firm. I tried calling you earlier but you can call me at your earliest convenience or I will attempt to call you during the week as we are opening up a warehouse in Orangeville and I am usually at the new location during the day until the construction is done

The lawyer sent the fraudster a retainer letter, which was completed and returned.

Please can you acknowledge receipt of the signed agreement. I am looking for a way forward on this matter. and I am unanimously content with the details portrayed on the agreement. Find the attached signed page of the agreement received from your firm and I will be sending a hard copy of the documents in mail to your office.

For the remittance of the retainer, Please send me the name and address(not.p.o.box) you want the retainer issue to , I have informed Mr.Trevor Hamilton
that I am working with your firm in regard to the issue. He went on to ask for extra time period to set up the payment to be made, which I feel inclined to grant to maintain a decent relationship, giving him till next week to produce the monies and remit payment.

Nonetheless, after the grace time expires, full measures must be initiated against Trevor Hamilton.Therefore, till the time granting expires, you should not make contact to Trevor Hamilton, unless advised by me, to do so. Also, and the payment send by Trevor Hamilton, that will be solely controlled by you, as my attorney, for any and all payment that will be made to and secured in the trust account. thank you for your professional assistance. I await your acknowledgment of this email immediately.

The following email then arrived.

I just receive a notification from Trevor Hamilton stating his willingness to make a partial payment to your office to avoid any legal litigation for part of the amount that he owe to my company .I am pleased to hear this good news. In the light of this, and because I have not sent you the retainer amount, again, I ask that you deduct your retainer and any cost accumalated so far. The balances from the amount received should be kept in your trust account for further instructions.

He intend to pay of the owe balance in a week or two. As soon as you have deducted your retainer fee, please notify me also. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to work with your firm and appreciate your counsel and hope we will be able to collect the remainder of the funds owed to me. I hereby await your acknowledgment of this email immediately.

A cheque and cover letter then arrived at the lawyer’s office.


The below email then followed:

I have be Inform by Trevor Hamilton that He has made a payment to your firm and I also receive the attach payment he made to you which you send to me. Please, the funds which is $698,000.00 .
I am pleased to hear this decent notification. In the light of this, and because I have not sent you the retainer amount, again, I ask that you deduct your retainer and any cost accumalated so far.
The balances from the amount received should be kept in your trust account for further instructions.
He intend to pay of the owe balance in a week or two. As soon as you have deducted your retainer fee, please notify me also. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to work with your firm and appreciate your counsel and hope we will be able to collect the remainder of the funds owed to me. I hereby await your acknowledgment of this email immediately.

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 fraudinfo@lawpro.ca.

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.