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Date First Reported: April 2012

Primary Name Associated: Leo Esaki

Description of Potential Fraud:

fraud-warning

Over thirty lawyers in Ontario and the US have told us they’ve received emails from the purported Leo Esaki or Lee Hang of Akita Patent Law Office with 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: Leo Esaki [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Monday, April 23, 2012 8:51 AM
To: lawyer name
Subject: DEBT COLLECTION

I am Leo Esaki the owner and CEO of Akita Patent Law Office firm here in Japan.

We would like to know if you have conflict that will prevent you from representing our client Renesas Electronics Corporation, against an entity in your jurisdiction.

This matter regards shipment and product’s standard. We have explore all avenues to resolve this issue amicably, unfortunately we have not progressed as expected.

If you require the name of the opposing party to conduct your conflict check, please respond to our inquiry.

Regards

Leo Esaki
Akita Patent Law Office
1-13-9 Higashi-tabata
Kita-ku Tokyo Japan
ZIP 160-0022
Email; [email protected]

A lawyer who responded got this reply:

Thanks for your response, our client is Ishizuka Electronics Corp Japan and their debtor information is below, the debt owed is $650,000.00. We like to know if you have conflict that will prevent you from representing our client Ishizuka Electronics Corp, against Hawaiian Electric Company. We have explored all avenues to resolve this issue amicably, unfortunately we have not progressed as expected.

Debtor
Hawaiian Electric Company(HECO)
900 Richards Street
Honolulu, HI 96813

What is the flat rate for your initial retainer fee on collection matter, please advice with payment information and send to us your retainer agreement(engagement letter) for us to review and sign. We shall make the payment immediately, then forward you the contract document for your review.

Looking forward hearing from you.

Regards
Leo Esaki
Akita Patent Law Office
1-13-9 Higashi-tabata
Kita-ku Tokyo Japan
ZIP 160-0022

One lawyer received the following fake passport:

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 protected]

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.