In an earlier post we alerted lawyers to a collaborative law agreement fraud involving the purported Rika Takahashi (or Rita Takahashi).
You should not under estimate how persistent and convincing these frauds are.
A California lawyer has sent us a copy of a long series of back and forth emails which culminated in a fraudulent cheque (this was confirmed by the bank) for $189,600 being mailed and bank deposit instructions sent to the lawyer. The firm was also called several times from a bad connection. Here is a transcript of that conversation. Note the different email addresses. One was used to send the initial contact, and the other in the signature was used in the follow-up replies:
From Rika Takahashi – firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 11:31 AM
Subject: Re: Inquiry about my martial issue.
In need for your legal representation.
My name is Rika Takahashi I am soliciting for your legal representation and consultation against the divorce settlement with my ex-husband (Landscott Takahashi) who resides in your county. I will be providing further information upon your request.Can you represent me legally in USA and Can your law firm help me out?
Please let me know the basics here. How long married? Children? Ages?
Property holdings and total amount? What do you expect out of the legal representation?
From: Rita Takahashi – email@example.com
Sent: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 1:31 PM
Subject: RE:RE: Inquiry about my martial issue
I thank you for your prompt response. Currently am living in South Korea for an assignment ,it is a little bit difficult to gauge the best time to reach you vice verse. My ex-husband (Mr Takahashi) and I agreed under this Collaborative Law Agreement for a one time
cash settlement of $648,500.00usd to his credit, he has paid me $148,450.00 usd but still owing $500,000.00 usd.The divorce took place in Japan but now My ex-husband who is
currently in USA and i am in south korea working ,and i have told him of my intentions to seek legal actions if he doesnot cooperate as promised. 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 California,USA at the moment. he is a very stuborn man…and he like
to play with my feelings ,he justs wants me to suffer..i donot know what i have done to him .he thinks i am unattractive after giving birth to 2children for him ..Men !!!! He seeked for this divorce and now he doesnot want to settle
i wil want your legal representation in USA first,then also representing me on this matter and also send him a notice to comply with our agreement.If possible please send me a retainer agreement so that you can help me . Thank you and have a pleasant day.
I too had agreed to the terms of the agreement which is well within what Mr Takahashi can pay conveniently because I didn’t want the troubles of a long trial and so that we could part ways in the best
way for all it was worth.
However Mr Takahashi is been economical with the truth claiming a failed investment set him back financially. I however have information that this is not the case. I will be pleased if we could settle thiswithout the troubles of litigation and have advised my ex-husband that I am already in the
process of retaining your services to achieve a final closure of this over-delayed payments.
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
God bless you
MY ADDRESS: RM 206,357 -33, SHINDANG – DONG, CHUNG -GU, SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA
Please indicate your husband’s address and phone number.
he stay at 05 Junior Str, Santa Rosa Califonia.i donot have his current telephone number..but when he calls me again.i will request for an accessable one.,i will need you to send my ex-husband a notice to comply with all agreement we made..we can proceed from there and see were all this leads us to.what will be your charges and kindly forward me copies of retainer agreement so i can see..
pls send me your telephone number so i can speak to you when i am free
pls i need your help because i have the children school fees to pay and also a sick daugther in the hospital to take care of.
So this is basically a collection matter for non-payment of money owed to you.
Do you have the money to pay a retainer into my trust account? On cases such as these, the retainer would be $7,500.
Please let me know.
Thanks for your reply to my message.. i can afford $7,500 for your retainer fees..pls send me a contract agreement so i can see..and name and address i can send retainer fees to.pls anxious for your response…because i need this my issue to be settled for once before my ex-husband forgets he had an agreement with me.
We’ll get a fee agreement to you. Let’s see if we can help.
i will be waiting for it..also how can i send the retainers fees to your firm.pls advise..can i mail a cheque for that amount.
Thank you for your interest in XXXXXX Law. Attached are the fee agreement and fee agreement addendum (wp and pdf).
Please review them carefully and if you wish to retain this firm, please execute the agreement, retain a copy of both documents for your records, and return it to me. You may pdf the signed document back to the office if you wish for simplicity sake. I will sign the fee agreement and pdf it back to you.
You may wire the retainer (my bank charges $10 for transfer costs, so the amount would have to be $7,510).
thanks for your concern,i will take mytime and look at the agreement before signing and sending back to you.pls can i send a check..will be more convient for me because of my work..if okay by you..pls send me name and adress i can mail it to.
You certainly may send a check. My address is below. What kind of work do you do? You also should give me your mailing address and phone number, please.
Please let me know if you receieved my signed agreement,As of this evening,I received a call from My ex-husband-Mr. Takahasi, that he had sent your firm a small partial
payment to avoid any legal litigation and disruption to his buisness in USA,saying he
doesnot want any problem with the law.He did not indicate the actual amount,he also said he included your
retainers fees.but I am pleased to hear this decent notification. i was so shocked why men like the hard way. because i did tell him
about your firm services to me..i am sure he will not have even thought of paying me
my settlement…That guy sucks.. he said he sent it by USA mail and you should be getting it maybe today.
In the light of this, since you have not yet recieve my retainer fees,which might take some time for
you to get, 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 until i know what to do.He
intend to pay of the owe balance in a week. 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 reply to my email immediately and what can be done after this..
He promises to pay the balance settlement next week,when he has money.
Thank you for your representation,
will call you later today..pls drop a number i can use to reach you and best time to do so bcause i need to speak with you.
God Bless u.
Good news. We just received money from your ex-husband. I attach a copy of the check and letter in pdf form.
I will deposit the check into my trust account. What I will do is withhold in the trust account the amount of the retainer, $7,
thanks for the Goodnews,,,i called your office and wanted to speak with you,but they say you were not around.My name is Rika.seems i make a mistake when writing my previous emails to you.
i also want to let you know i am happy for your legal presences which made my ex-husband pay up.pls let me know when you want to send me a wire transfer so i can send you recieving account on how i want to recieve the money,
i will need you to keep some of the money at the moment,because i am handling an emergency in my family,my little daughter is very ill,i gave to stay awake all night by her bed side.i will have to take her back to the hospital tomrrow.
pls email me so i can send you acount details tomorrow.
and also tell me when to call so i can speak to you.
Sorry to hear about your daughter, Rika. How old is she and what is her name? My wife and I have five children, including two daughters. We also have two granddaughters. By the way, I hope you were not too badly impacted by the recent tsunami.
I do need you to send me your banking information. I need the name of your bank and various codes or numbers. What you need is the swift code or IBAN number, but your bank will have this. You need to call your bank and find out, then let me know so I can wire the funds to you. Also check with your bank to see about fees. If you prefer, I could just cut a check from my trust account for the amount and FedEx it to you, insured. In that case I will of course need your address. This option, however, will require you to hand carry the check to your bank and deposit it. With the wire transfer, you are spared that step.
Please let me know what you’d like to do. Thank you for allowing me to assist you in this matter.
thank you,i am so happy for your concern to my and my family.my little girls name is Lulu,i will prefare a wire transfer for the sum of $100,000 usd first ,then you are to keep the remaining balance until i figure out what next to do.Since i will be retaining you till next month,do keep the balance funds for me in your account.i will try and call you today.i will send you receiving account details,for you to send monies to.i wll be travelling today or tomorrow,bcause i just spoke to my daughter doctor,and he just says she needs to undergo a scan,and he refeered us to an hospital in China.
Pls reply me
Thank you, Rika. Now please contact your bank. Obtain all numbers and information needed for my bank to transfer the money by wire. I can’t do this without your bank’s routing number and probably other information.
Thank you for allowing me to assist you.
Just saw your email now,my daughter health has wosen,she has sickle cell anemia.I just spoke to my Boss now and he has given me 1week leave to
take care of her health,i just talked to my brother,”Zhang Jing” in china and he says i should bring her to china for
traditional medical care,since there is diaster in my home town,JAPAN,and this has made our relatives become unknown and scattered.
i will want you to make a wire transfer of the money to my brother account so when i get to china tomorrow,i can be able to access money and make use of some of it for my
daugthers sickness and other expenses i may inquire.I have called my brother now and told him about this and he says he will be on the lookout and let me know when your Wire transfer reflect in the account.
Below is the bank account information.Do send $170,000Usd to the account below.
BANK NAME: BANK OF CHINA
BANK ADDRESS: #2 CHAO YANG MEN NEIDA
JIE DONGCHENG DISTRICT,
BEIJING 100010 CHINA
SWIFT CODE: BKCHCNBJ110
BENEFICIARY NAME: ZHANG JING
BENEFICIARY ACC#: 335056723495
BENEFICIARY ADDRESS: 169 WENQUAN ROAD, HAIDIAN
DISTRICT, BEIJING CHINA
Pls let me know when it is done,and also make sure your bank completes transfer this morning, so i can know it is done before i prepare to travel with my daughter.She is all i got,she looks just like me.
i thank you for your help and understanding.
pls when can i call you so i can speak to you in person..pls tell me.i am anxious to speak to you
Thank you, Rika, and again my office extends its best wishes to you and your daughter. Under the circumstances, I would feel much more comfortable if you directed me to wire funds to an account which you own.
I’m afraid that for your protection, I would need a notarized statement from you telling me to send the money to a third party, such as your brother. I am sorry to inconvenience you
that will have to take much time,i donot have time to get a notarized statement,i am telling you to send wire money there and email me back,i will call you on the phone now.
[The fraudsters then begin calling the law firm]
just called your office and your secetary says you are not around,i donot have time to get a notorized paper because of my daughters illnes,,,pls sir..i will need to travel to china tomorrow,try and get this done so that i can make this trip with my daugther,do drop a number i can use to speak with you.
it is important .
I HAVE CALLED YOUR OFFICE MORE THAN 5TIMEES TODAY AND YOUR SECETARY SAYS YOU ARE NOT AROUND,ATTACHED TO THIS MAIL IS COPY OF NOTORIZATION,THIS IS ALL I CAN DO NOW BECAUSE I HAVE TO GIVE ALL MY ATTENTION TO MY SICK DAUGHTER,SHE NEEDS ME NOW,I WILL BE TRAVELING TO CHINA TOMORROW.I HOPE BEFORE I GET TO CHINA,THE MONEY IS ALREADY TRANSFERED BY YOU TO MY BROTHERS ACCOUNT SO I CAN USE IT FOR EXPENSES AND OTHER DRUGS.
DO EMAIL ME .WAITING FOR WIRE TRANSFER PAPERS CONFIRMATION.
If you have been targeted by this fraud, please forward any of the emails you have received to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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.
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