Commercial debt collection scam by James Gilliard
Date First Reported: July 2011
Primary Name Associated: James Gilliard
Description of Potential Fraud:
In recent days three Ontario lawyers have informed us that they have been contacted by a James Gilliard of South Carolina looking to collect on a local commercial debt. The emails are similar to fraud attempts we have seen under the names Mark Lawson, Mark Ludic and Ma Li Ni. One of the lawyers also received cheques from an American bank to “repay” the debt even before any demand letter had been sent.
Here is an example of the message that gets sent if a lawyer resonds to the initial contact. Examples of the supporting documentation is provided as well.
From: James Gilliard [email protected]
Sent: Monday, July 04, 2011 7:04 PM
To: Lawyer Name
Subject: Re: Breach of Loan agreement
Good day to you and thanks for responding to my email. Please pardon my late email response as my condition does not allow me to stay long on the computer. The consultation fee shouldn’t be a problem, kindly send me your firm fee / retainer agreement for my review and upon receipt and if OK, I shall make immediate provision for the fee.
My full names are James Gilliard. I am a private lender who lends Investors, small companies and individuals funds on a fixed term to invest and in return pay back with interest. On January 5th, 2009, I lend Trimar Steel who is located in your jurisdiction the sum of $480.000.00 with interest on two years fixed term and to pay back January 5th, 2011.
There has not been any attorney working on this case. Different payment dates have been promised and I still have not received anything. I was advised to seek legal assistance in my borrower jurisdiction which is why I contacted you to act as my counsel in retrieving these funds. My last contact with my Borrower, I was told I would receive payment not later than Mid January 2011 and till now, nothing has been paid.
I will like to know what your fees would be in order for me to inform the company to expect contact from you as you have been authorized to act on my behalf and receive said funds or make contact with your firm. I would like to forward your details to them on your approval, so they know a law firm is representing me and I can sue for breach of agreement if they don’t keep their promise. I would like to give them this last chance to fulfill their obligations before we start legal proceeding.
Please do get back to me so I can furnish you with the required details to contact my borrower and receive my funds on my behalf as I know these companies respect law firms and do not want to be carried to court. Before we proceed I will like you to forward your fee/retainer agreement for me to review and if okay, sign and return for you to begin work. Upon receipt of the fee / agreement, I shall make immediate provision for the fee. Also, include your firm payment information should incase they want to make a full or partial payment they owe without further delays or possible litigation.
Thank you for your anticipated co-operation and understanding. Contact me should you require more information. I have attached here a copy of the Loan Agreement Promissory Note for your information. My borrower’s name is Trimar Steel.
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 [email protected]
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 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.