[Updated Dec. 23, 2011]
More than a dozen Ontario and US lawyers have notified us that they’ve been contacted over the last month by the purported Dan Nagasakii of CCP Group International with regards to retaining their services in a breach of licence matter. This is one of the most convincing frauds we have seen. There is a fake website to make the client look legitimate. In the week just before Christmas we have reports from several lawyers worked on the matter as far as receiving cheques on this fraud. One lawyer was successfully duped by this scam.
This is a new variant of the basic bad cheque scam in which the aim is to have a counterfeit cheque deposited in the lawyer’s trust account and good money disbursed to the fraudsters. As with business loan frauds where the debtor miraculously agrees to pay up right away, in this scam the ‘client’ accused of breaching the licence agreement will no doubt also quickly send a (counterfeit) cheque for damages to the lawyers office, and the lawyer will be asked to wire the funds (minus fees and costs) to an offshore account.
Here is an example of the initial contact email (Note that these messages are convincing as they are personally addressed to individual lawyers):
From: Dan Nagasakii [DNagasakii@ccpgroup-int.com]
Sent: Friday, December 09, 2011 9:52 AM
Subject: Property Rights Violation
Dear Mr. [LawyerLastName],
I am contacting you in regards to a breach of license agreement, unfair competition, and trademark infringement with a client in your locale. Our client was granted an exclusive license to use and modify our Japanese language software products to create and manufacture English language versions of the Products and derivative products in the English language, and the exclusive rights to distribute the English language versions of the Products throughout the Canada. However, it was later uncovered that our client was equally manufacturing the Spanish language of our product without license. In addition, our client was equally distributing the unauthorized products within and to other regions outside Canada and this is a complete violation of our agreed terms.
On behalf of my company, I will like to enforce our intellectual property rights with respect to the unauthorized production of the versions of our products in Spanish language and the unauthorized distribution of the products within and to other regions outside Canada . If these falls under the scope of your practice and my request could be reasonably accommodated, please contact me as soon as possible so that I can provide you with further details. Otherwise, if you are not in a position to assist on these issues, your advice on the appropriate measures to take could be of assistance.
I will appreciate your prompt response. Thank you.
CCP Group International
Tokyoto Toshimaku Kita
Otsuka 3-12-22, Japan.
While personally addressed to the lawyer (initital contact these messages are frequently BCC’d to many people), this message looks odd in several ways. The top level domain (TLD) of the sender email is different than the TLD in email in signature line (red flag). The president’s contact info on the website mentioned in the email signature matches the info in this message – Dan Nagasakii – which could be a good sign. However, A Google search failed to find info mentioning the president elsewhere on the web – the double ii is an uncommon spelling so you would expect to find something (red flag). There was no matching email for the president found on the web (possible red flag).
One lawyer who carried on correspondence with the fraudster agreed to let us reproduce the email exchange. Emails from the lawyer are in bold. Emails from the fraudster in italics. Emails from the purported company that breached the copyright are indented in bold.
Thank you for your e-mail.
My practice includes the negotiation of commercial agreements, such as that made between your company and your customer, and addressing disputes arising from such agreements, including the kind of dispute arising from the conduct of your customer referred to in your e-mail. Where appropriate, I also work in conjunction with one of my partners in our firm’s litigation department, who may initiate legal action before the courts to enforce your legal rights.
If you wish to retain us in this matter, we would require the full name and contact details of your customer. This will permit us to carry out the appropriate conflict searches so that we can confirm that we can represent you. It would also be helpful to receive a copy of the agreement that you have made with your customer.
After we carry out conflict searches, we will send you a retainer letter to set out the terms on which we would propose to assist you. If the letter is satisfactory, it should be signed by you and sent back to us. The letter will also provide for the payment of an initial retainer on account of our legal costs. We will advise you of the amount of the retainer once we receive the information requested above.
Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you for your prompt reply to my mail.
This is an official request for your services on behalf of my company towards the enforcement of our intellectual property rights. We have a contract manufacturing agreement with Abbott Laboratories. 7115 Milcreek Drive Mississauga. ON for the manufacture, supply and distribution of our medical and pharmaceutical products to consumers Canada . These medical and pharmaceutical products or devices are embedded or preloaded with our proprietary softwares coded in Japanese language but equipped with a
Japanese to English language translator from our factory or assemble plants here in Japan before being shipped to the Canada. You may visit our company website www.ccpgroup-int.com to intimate yourself with our products and operations.
However, as a result of increased market demand for our medical and pharmaceutical devices in Canada and to make our products compete more favourably with other products, there was the need to have the embedded softwares written in English language. It was considered that these will remove several inefficiencies as result of translation from Japanese to English language. As a result of the foregoing, we enter into a copyright license agreement with our client for the translation of our software programs from Japanese to English language for our medical and pharmaceutical devices. As result of the foregoing, we entered into a copyright license agreement with our client in September 2009 for the translation and development of our software programs in English language.
However, in July 2010 during a schedule facility and inspection tour by our audit consultant from Japan to our client manufacturing facility in Canada, it was uncovered that our client was equally manufacturing the Spanish language versions of our product without license. In addition, our client was equally distributing the unauthorized Spanish language versions of our products within and to other regions
outside of Canada and this is a complete violation of our agreed terms.
Following the initial discovery by our audit consultant, a detail investigation was carried and it was uncovered and confirmed by our client that 250,000 copies of the Spanish language version of the software
programs have been produced and 200,000 shipped and sold already in Mexico. After this agreement was breached, we had a lengthy negotiation, and consequently it was mutually resolved and agreed that sixty-five percent (65%) earned profits on the unauthorized production should be payable to us and payment deadline of 30th of September, 2010 was agreed. However, the deadline date was extended to 28th of January, 2011 as requested for by our client.
Quite unfortunately, the extended deadline was not been honoured. Attached is a copy of our copyright license agreement with Abbott Laboratories Inc.
Despite the foregoing, I will like to draw your attention to the relationship with our client which has been cordial and we have had a successful business relationship over the past few years, and it is our
position to maintain the relationship after settling the issues on hand. Right now, I will like to take appropriate steps and measures to enforce our copyright license agreement and/ or claim infringements and damages as appropriate.
If your firm is retained, our expectation of your services for now will be within the scenario of a engagement letter to our client. This approach will trigger the much needed response from our client towards amicable settlement otherwise we will not hesitate to go into court litigation. We are prepared to pay your retainer fees.
Litigation may be introduced as a last resort when options have been exhausted. Please time is of the essence for us now.
We look forward to your prompt response and you may send your retainer document as well.
CCP Group International
Tokyoto Toshimaku Kita
Otsuka 3-12-22, Japan
Thank you for your e-mail.
We are pleased to advise that we are in a position to represent CCP Group in connection with this matter.
Please find enclosed a letter setting out the terms on which we propose to provide the requested services. Also enclosed is a document that sets out instructions for payment of the retainer amount referred to in the e-mail.
If the letter is satisfactory, could you kindly advise us accordingly, and make arrangements for payment of the retainer amount, whereupon we can commence to provide the services that you requested.
To enable us to proceed as expeditiously as possible, it would also be helpful if you could provide us with the following information relating to the agreement made with Abbott Laboratories, as referred to in your e-mail:
a) any report provided by your audit consultant setting out information about the manufacture and distribution by Abbott Laboratories of Spanish language versions of your product, and any subsequent report setting out the number of copies of your product produced and/or shipped and sold; and
b) any agreement reached with Abbott Laboratories setting out that party’s obligation to make certain payments to you with respect to its unauthorized activities.
We look forward to hearing from you at your convenience.
I wish to thank you for your acceptance to represent me in this matter which has put so much pressure on me and the lifeline of our products.
I have immdiatedly instructed my accounts manager to send out a letter to Abbott Laboratories informing them that we are dealing with your firm now and all correspondences including negotiations concerning the issues at hand should be with our attorneys, they were not happy over this development but confirmed that they will be contacting you soonest. Attached is the signed retainer and letter to Abbott
Your legal fees will be paid by Friday next week, this delay is caused by the fact that since after the Tsunami which dealt a severe blow to our economy, and as such, we have to now source for foreign exchange
from the open market as I have exhausted my allocation for the first half of the year,even when you get the foreign exchange they come expensive.
Lastly, ensure to let me see a copy of the draft letter to Abbott Laboratories before it is sent out to them.
Expecting your urgent reply,
Richard Ashley We refer to the recent notification sent to us regarding the appointment Thank you. Richard Ashley
11/16/2011 07:53 PM
To: lawyer name
of your firm by CCP Group, please find attached our communication with
respect to the resolution of the violation.
We refer to the recent notification sent to us regarding the appointment
We are in receipt of your e-mail and accompanying letter dated November 16, 2011.
We confirm that we have been retained by the firm CCP Group International & Company Limited (“CCP Group”) to take all necessary steps to enforce its rights under a certain Copyright License Agreement made between CCP Group and Abbott Laboratories. In this regard our client has provided us with documents and information that indicate that Abbott Laboratories has engaged in various unauthorized activities relating to products for which the applicable intellectual property are owned by our client.
We will, of course, follow our client’s instructions with respect to the enforcement of its rights. Our client has advised that while it wishes us to take all necessary actions to enforce its rights, it acknowledges that CCP Group and Abbott Laboratories have had a successful business relationship over the past few years, and that it wishes to maintain that relationship once the outstanding issues are resolved.
In view of your company’s intentions to provide an immediate proposal to resolve the issue, we have instructions from our client not to proceed with litigation at this time. However, we do expect to receive this proposal by no later than the close of business on November 28, 2011, failing which we will seek further instructions from our client.
Mr. Nagasakii of CCP Group has been advised, and has instructed us to confirm receipt of this letter and payment.
We note the commitment set out in your letter for Abbott Laboratories to make the balance payment plus current attorneys costs within 10 days. On this basis, our client has instructed us not to take any action by way of litigation, pending receipt of such payment within this time period. We or CCP Group will be in touch with respect to the details of the final amount on account of current attorney costs.
In order to deposit the bank draft received from Abbott Laboratories into our trust account, we require some information to verify the corporate status of CCP Group. Would it be possible to send us a copy of any one of the corporation’s annual filing, a certificate of corporate status or any other record from a public body confirming the corporation’s existence?
A pdf copy of any of the foregoing documents sent by e-mail would be sufficient.
Please find attached document as per request.
Confirm the receipt as soon as possible. Thank you.
We have asked our Accounting Department to pay to you the settlement funds received from Abbott Laboratories as soon as possible. In accordance with your directions, we will retain the sum of Cdn. $10,000 on account of our fees and disbursements. If the matter proceeds to final settlement as is now expected, the final amount of our fees and expenses should be less than this amount, and if so, will send the balance to you in due course.
While we have requested our Accounting Department to proceed as quickly as possible, they have advised that it may take approximately one week before funds will be received in your account.
Thank you for the last update regarding the payment from Abbott. Please
find attached our authorization letter for you to deduct your
professional fees and expenses. Also, I have attached my company’s
account for the payment and receipt of the balance. It will be my
greatest pleasure if the payment could be made very soon as most of my
suppliers are cutting off raw materials to my company because of payment
I thank you for all your efforts and constant updates
Expecting your urgent reply
Further to your e-mail and telephone call, I have followed up with our Accounting Department to obtain the requested information. They are following up with the bank for confirmation. While they have requested a prompt response, they have advised that it may take a day or two to obtain written confirmation that the funds have cleared at our end. In the meantime, I will continue to follow up on this matter, and I will send you further information as soon as I receive the same.
Please can you ask your Bookkeepers to send me the wire transfer slip so I can confirm to my bankers that my funds have been sent as I am indebted to them and they are mounting so much pressure on me here.
Thanking you for your anticipated cooperation
Please be advised that it has been determined that the payment received by our firm is fraudulent, and that this matter has now been handed over to the local police for investigation.
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@example.com.
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.