Two Ontario lawyers have notified us that they’ve received an email from the purported Catherine Schweitzer 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 loan frauds.
Here is the email:
From: CATHERINE SCHWEITER [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: September 1, 2012 7:59 PM
Subject: Re: Possible Legal Representation.
I am in need of your legal assistance regarding a breach of loan
I provided a friend of mine in the amount of $500,000. He needed this
to complete an ongoing project he was handling in March 2010. He is well
based in your jurisdiction and the loan was for 24 months with interest
accrued at the rate of 8.5%. The capital and interest were supposed to
paid on March, 2012 but he has only paid $50,000.
Please let me know if this falls within the scope of your practice, so
that I can provide you with the loan documents and any further
you need to know.
A lawyer who replied got this response and fake documentation:
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 okay upon receipt; I shall make immediate provision for the fee.
My name is Catherine Schweitzer. On March 1st, 2010, I lend Brian Smith who’s now relocated to your jurisdiction the sum of $550.000.00 with 8.5% interest on two years fixed term and to pay back March 1st, 2012. Hey had only paid me $50,000 but still owing $500,000.
We both used to live here in Kentucky at the time the loan was made, but he had now relocated to your jurisdiction (Puyallup Area). I was advised to seek legal assistance in my borrower new jurisdiction which is why I contacted you to act as my counsel in retrieving these funds. There has not been any attorney working on this case. Different payment dates have been promised and I still have not received anything. My last contact with my Borrower, I was told I would receive payment not later than Mid April 2012 and till now, nothing has been paid.
Kindly let me know what your fees would be in order for me to inform Mr. Smith to expect contact from you as you have been authorized to act on my behalf. On your approval, I would like to forward your details to him so He knows a law firm is representing me and, I could sue for breach of agreement if He does not oblige to the terms of the loan agreement. I would like to give him this last chance to fulfill his obligations before we start legal proceeding if need be.
Please do get back to me so I can furnish you with the required details to contact my borrower on my behalf as I know He respect law firms and do not want to be carried to court. 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 Loan Agreement Promissory Note and proof of partial payment He made for your peruse. My borrower’s name is Brian Smith.
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 Sheet More 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.