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Commercial debt collection scam by Leo Esaki or Lee Hang of Akita Patent Law Office

April 23, 2012 By: FraudInfo Category: Confirmed frauds

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:leo.es@techie.com]
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; leo.esak@techie.com

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 fraudinfo@lawpro.ca.

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.

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8 Responses to “Commercial debt collection scam by Leo Esaki or Lee Hang of Akita Patent Law Office”


  1. Lawrence Stanley says:

    Our office in Vermont has received the same exact letter, purportedly signed by a different “person:”

    Asahi Kore
    Akita Patent Law Office
    1-13-9 Higashi-tabata
    Kita-ku Tokyo Japan
    ZIP 160-0022

  2. Adam Greely says:

    Our office received the same letter purportedly from another person:

    I am Hiroki Ohara the owner and CEO of Ohara Int’l Law and Patent Office firm here in Japan. I urgently have a collection matter for you in your jurisdiction reply me to discuses this further because of the time difference between Asia and America we prefer communication via email

    Regards

    Hiroki Ohara
    Ohara Patent Law Firm
    8th Floor, TOC-First Building, 8-3, Shibuya 1-chome,
    Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0002, Japan
    TEL:(81)033983-8011 FAX:(81)033983-8012
    Email:hirokiohara@lawyer.com

  3. Richard R. Sylvester, J.D.,Ph.D. says:

    I received a letter with similar wording.
    Dear Attorney,

    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

    The next day, I received a response to my proposal:

    Dear Richard R. Sylvester,

    Thanks for your response, our client is Renesas Electronics Corporation 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 Renesas Electronics Corporation, against Gibbs Brothers Electric Co. Inc. We have explored all avenues to resolve this issue amicably, unfortunately we have not progressed as expected.

    Debtor
    Gibbs Brothers Electric Co., Inc.
    1754 N. Main Street
    Los Angeles, CA 90031-2517

    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.

    Then, on June 19, 2012, I received the following:
    The $12,550 retainer fee was never paid.

    Dear Richard Sylvester,

    Thanks for your response, we are ready to pay the retainer fee, we will send to you first $12,500. And the contract agreement and also the invoice relating to this transaction.

    I will inform you immediately the retainer fee is sent.

    Regards,
    Leo Esaki

  4. Mario says:

    Got this one on 1/28/2013

    Dear Counsel,

    I am Akira Hiraishi, the legal representative of shizuka Electronics Corp.
    in Japan. I am contacting your firm to help us handle a collection matter
    in your jurisdiction. I shall give you the details as soon as you
    reply.Meanwhile, due to time difference between Asia and America we prefer
    communication through email.

    Thanks for your anticipated corporation.

    Akira Hiraishi

  5. Janet says:

    received this today:

    From: Manuel Jones
    Subject: Collection Matter

    Message Body:
    ishizuka Electronics Corp
    1 647 539 3097
    I am Manuel Jones and I am contacting your firm to help us handle a collection matter in your area.I shall give you the details as soon as you reply.

    Best Regards,

    Manuel Jones

  6. Stefano Brustia says:

    We received a similar email from Mr Oyama Kadowaki, which included as attachment the same fake passport.

    Here is the email:

    Dear Counsel,

    Thanks for your response, I will be willing to pay for your extra legal services if this matter falls outside your jurisdiction,since your interest is indicated I do wish to elaborate more about how i needs your firm to assist us on this matter.If this matter is out of your jurisdiction,please take it up for me anyways as I would be willing to pay for the extra charges.
    There is a twelve hour difference between us; I don’t know what time will be convenient to call, however I will give you a brief rundown of the situation at hand to enable you advice of your capability to provide services as requested. There is a pending issue of a private loan agreement contract that was breached by my former Brother in-law. The loan was for real estate investment purposes. The idea was to buy properties, renovate them and put them back on the market to increase property value for resale and tourist rental

    The interest on the loan was 10% for duration of one year. The loan principal was for €720,000.00 from 9th July 2011 to July 2012. The amount due in 9thth July 2012 was €720,000.00 (€720,000.00 plus 10%). To his credit, he has paid me 100,000.00 but still owing 620,000.00.

    Debtor’s info:
    *Name:* George [omissis]
    * Home Address*: [omissis] Dublin 15
    * Alternate Address [omissis] Italy
    *Email: [omissis]

    He his presently in your country on a business purpose which will have him in your country for a long while according to my sources,I have made personal attempts at requesting for payment but to no success.
    I personally think it will be a positive step to introduce legal pressure at this time. I want you to act as my mediator in the collection of this payment from George Anderson. I require your services to represent me in connection with any matter with the resolution of the payment expressed in the agreement reached. George Anderson has been avoiding me; He has refused all entreaties for repaying the loan. I have just advised him of my intention on retaining your firm. Find attached copies of the agreements for your review and also my passport. If there is a need for me to sign a retainer agreement, please email me a copy immediately for signing. It will be most helpful to get your retainer terms before the end of business day.
    I am aware that retainer fee has to be paid, kindly send me your firm retainer agreement for my review, signed and send back to you. Upon receipt of the agreement, I shall make immediate arrangement for the fee to be paid or your legal expertise in this matter or on a contingency basis if that is acceptable. Also, include your firm payment information should in-case they want to make a full or partial payment they owe without further delays or possible litigation. I will appreciate a prompt response from you as time is of the essence.

    Sincerely,
    Oyama Kadowaki
    Address: 1310 Kamihachimai, Minami-ku,
    Niigata-shi, Niigata 950-1431 Japan
    Phone: 81-25-372-3179
    oyamakadoo@gmail.com

  7. Brandon says:

    We also received a similar e-mail from Mr. Kadowaki:

    Dear Counsel,

    Thanks for your prompt response, since your interest is indicated I do wish to elaborate more about how i needs your firm to assist us on this matter. There is a twelve hour difference between us; I don’t know what time will be convenient to call, however I will give you a brief rundown of the situation at hand to enable you advice of your capability to provide services as requested. There is a pending issue of a private loan agreement contract that was breached by my former Brother in-law. The loan was for real estate investment purposes. The idea was to buy properties, renovate them and put them back on the market to increase property value for resale and tourist rental

    The interest on the loan was 10% for duration of one year. The loan principal was for $720,000.00 from 9th July 2011 to July 2012. The amount due in 9thth July 2012 was $720,000.00 ($720,000.00 plus 10%). To his credit, he has paid me $100,000.00 but still owing $620,000.00.

    Debtor’s info:
    Name: George Anderson
    Last Known Address :1572 E. College Parkway, Carson City, NV 89705
    Email:georgeandeerson@yahoo.com

    I have made personal attempts at requesting for payment but to no success. I personally think it will be a positive step to introduce legal pressure at this time. I want you to act as my mediator in the collection of this payment from George Anderson. I require your services to represent me in connection with any matter with the resolution of the payment expressed in the agreement reached. George Anderson has been avoiding me; He has refused all entreaties for repaying the loan. I have just advised him of my intention on retaining your firm. Find attached copies of the agreements,Proof of Partial payment for your review and also my passport. If there is a need for me to sign a retainer agreement, please email me a copy immediately for signing. It will be most helpful to get your retainer terms before the end of business day. I am aware that retainer fee has to be paid, kindly send me your firm retainer agreement for my review, signed and send back to you. Upon receipt of the agreement, I shall make immediate arrangement for the fee to be paid or your legal expertise in this matter or on a contingency basis if that is acceptable. Also, include your firm payment information should in-case they want to make a full or partial payment they owe without further delays or possible litigation. I will appreciate a prompt response from you as time is of the essence.

    Sincerely,
    Oyama Kadowaki
    Address: 1310 Kamihachimai, Minami-ku,
    Niigata-shi, Niigata 950-1431 Japan
    Phone: 81-25-372-3179,

  8. Kordula Fleiss-Goll says:

    Hello,

    I am an Austrian lawyer and have received the same E-Mail as above shown. The photograph on the passport is the same as of “Leo Asaki”… I was wondering why a Japanese individual seeking payment from a German person wanted to involve me as Austrian lawyer. And I doubted that the signature on the passport attached was of the Name Oyama Kadowaki.
    Here we go:

    Dear Counsel,

    Thanks for your prompt response, since your interest is indicated I do wish to elaborate more about how i needs your firm to assist us on this matter. There is a twelve hour difference between us; I don’t know what time will be convenient to call, however I will give you a brief rundown of the situation at hand to enable you advice of your capability to provide services as requested. There is a pending issue of a private loan agreement contract that was breached by my former Brother in-law. The loan was for real estate investment purposes. The idea was to buy properties, renovate them and put them back on the market to increase property value for resale and tourist rental

    The interest on the loan was 10% for duration of one year. The loan principal was for €720,000.00 from 9th July 2011 to July 2012. The amount due in 9thth July 2012 was €720,000.00 (€720,000.00 plus 10%). To his credit, he has paid me €100,000.00 but still owing €620,000.00.

    Debtor’s info:
    Name: George Anderson
    Last Known Address :Könneritzstraße 25
    Dresden
    01067
    Sachsen
    Germany
    Email:georgeandeerson@yahoo.com

    I have made personal attempts at requesting for payment but to no success. I personally think it will be a positive step to introduce legal pressure at this time. I want you to act as my mediator in the collection of this payment from George Anderson. I require your services to represent me in connection with any matter with the resolution of the payment expressed in the agreement reached. George Anderson has been avoiding me; He has refused all entreaties for repaying the loan. I have just advised him of my intention on retaining your firm. Find attached copies of the agreements,Proof of partial payment for your review and also my passport. If there is a need for me to sign a retainer agreement, please email me a copy immediately for signing. It will be most helpful to get your retainer terms before the end of business day. I am aware that retainer fee has to be paid, kindly send me your firm retainer agreement for my review, signed and send back to you. Upon receipt of the agreement, I shall make immediate arrangement for the fee to be paid or your legal expertise in this matter or on a contingency basis if that is acceptable. Also, include your firm payment information should in-case they want to make a full or partial payment they owe without further delays or possible litigation. I will appreciate a prompt response from you as time is of the essence.

    Sincerely,
    Oyama Kadowaki
    Address: 1310 Kamihachimai, Minami-ku,
    Niigata-shi, Niigata 950-1431 Japan
    Phone: 81-25-372-3179,



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