Lawyers in Ontario, BC and California have received an email from the purported Kenichi Kai of Bunkasha Publishing Co regards to a commercial debt litigation scam. For examples of other names attached to this kind of fraud see our Confirmed Fraud Page. For an explanation of how this fraud works see our Fraud Fact Sheet.
Here is the initial email:
From: Kenichi Kai [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: August 20, 2012 11:45 PM
To: Lawyer name
Subject: Legal Matter
We are a large media publisher company here in Japan and we have a breach of contract agreement matter for collection in your jurisdiction.
Please advise us on your retainer fee so that we can forward you the agreement for your review and run a conflict check.
Kenichi Kai CEO/CFO
Bunkasha Publishing Co., Ltd.
29-6, Ichibancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
A lawyer who replied got this response:
Thanks for the your responds, please see attached agreement for your review, our debtor information is below the debt owe $1,200,000.00 run your conflict check and send us your retainer agreement Asap.
Wfo Mixed Media Inc
910 Queen St W Suite B2
Toronto, ON M6J 1G6, Canada
Please advise us on your retainer fees for collection and send us retainer agreement ( engagement letter) looking forward hearing from you.
The lawyer advised that before he would act, he required a retainer fee and a signed agreement. While the agreement was signed and returned, no fee was sent. And then this email arrived.
We are delighted to inform you that we received a message from our debtor, they have issued a payment of $650,000.00 to your firm as a part of the money owed our company to avoid litigation brought against them and to pay the balance $550,000 by September, 2012 they became scare when we notify them of our plan to seek legal advice on the matter.
The customer has made the payment to your firm and you will have your retainer fee deducted from this sum and this will give us a good note to start off as agreed by my board of directors.
Please we should pause any action at this time since payment as been issued to your firm.
A cheque then arrived at the lawyer’s office:
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 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.