Business debt collection scam by Patricia Zimmerman
Description of Potential Fraud:
Lawyers in Ontario and the US have notified us that they’ve received an email from the purported Patricia Zimmerman looking to retain them with regards to a breach of a business loan agreement. This is similar to other frauds of this kind we have seen. For a full description of how this fraud works and to see other names attached to it, see our Confirmed Fraud page that deals with business load frauds.
Here is the initial email.
From: Patricia Zimmerman [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, April 09, 2012 9:32 AM
Subject: Re:Possible Representation
I am seeking legal representation from your law firm regarding a breach of
Loan agreement I had with my borrower. I need proper legal advice and
assistance to know the best way to handle this issue. If this is your area
of practice, please contact me to provide you with further Information.
A lawyer who responded received the following reply:
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. Your consultation fee shouldn’t be a problem. Kindly send me your firm fee / retainer agreement for my review and if OK upon receipt, I shall make immediate provision for the fee.
My name is Patricia Zimmerman. My ex husband and I agreed under this out of court Collaborative Law Agreement for a onetime cash settlement of $578,000. To his credit, he had paid me $78,000 but still owing $500,000. Ever since, he has refused to come up with the balance giving one excuses or the other. I expect this to be a non-litigation matter. I have already advised him I am planning on retaining a legal firm to litigate this issue if need be.
The lawyer that helped me with the matter had passed away due to cancer illness. I was advised to seek legal assistance in my ex husband new jurisdiction which is why I contacted you to act as my counsel in retrieving these funds. Different payment dates have been promised and I still have not received anything. My last contact with my ex husband, he told me I would receive payment not later than Mid November 2011 and till now, nothing has been paid.
Kindly let me know what your fees would be in order for me to inform my ex husband to expect contact from you as you have been authorized to act on my behalf. I would like to forward your details to him on your approval, so he knows a law firm is representing me and I can sue for breach of agreement if he does not keep his promise. I would like to give him this last chance to fulfill his obligations before we start legal proceeding.
Please do get back to me so I can furnish you with the required details to contact my ex husband on my behalf as I know he respect the law and wouldn’t want to be litigated. Before we proceed, kindly forward your fee/retainer agreement for my review and if okay upon receipt; I shall make immediate provision for the fee for you to begin work.
Thank you for your anticipated co-operation and understanding. Contact me should you require more information. I have attached here a copy of the CPLA and proof of partial payment for your peruse. My ex husband name is Brian Smith.
The fraudster also signed and returned a retainer agreement.
Agreement received. I will review it and If OK; I shall make immediate provision for the fee.
I do not think this matter will result to litigation as he is not disputing the claim neither did he want to contest it. All I need is a reputable law firm like yours to act on my behalf as I am sick of his various excuses. He got properties here in Kentucky, Aussie, and Canada as well. He is well to do business man but just wouldn’t want to come up with the balance on time as agreed. He agreed to pay but kept giving me numerous excuses and turning me around. Each time he noticed I am about to seek a legal counsel to sue for breach of the agreement we had, he always come up the notion that he want to pay and the moment I cool off, he won’t come up with the payment.
We chose Collaborative Law Process to reduce emotional and financial cost and the agreement is binding and enforceable anywhere as stated in the CPLA. He emailed me agreeing to pay after I notified him of my intention to sue him for breach of the agreement we had. He had previously made several promises to come up with the payment and none he ever kept and that is the more reason I told him this time around, I am seeking a legal counsel that will retrieve this funds from him and if need be, litigate him for breach of the agreement.
I am seeking a counsel basically because it is taken longer for him to come up the settlement as agreed on the CPLA, and I know with a counsel involvement, these funds will be release as soon as possible without going to court. After I notified him of my intention, he had already requested for your firm contact details to enable him establish contact with you and set up an arrangement on how to remit the money he owed as I have instructed him without delays or possible litigation.
I shall get back to you soon with the retainer fee after my review of the agreement.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.