Three Ontario lawyers received an email from the purported Ronald Stevenson of Clarkwood Equipment Inc 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: Ronald Stevenson [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: June 20, 2012 12:17 PM
To: lawyer name
I am writing on behalf of my company to request your firms possible legal
representation in matters concerning a client in your province.We have reviewed
your firms profile and believe that this case is within your jurisdiction which
is why we write requesting your firms services.Do let us know your position in
reviewing this matter, so I may provide any additional information.we anticipate
receiving a prompt response from you or your firm.
Clarkwood Equipment Inc
11130 Jackson Terrace
Corpus Christi, TX 78410-2412
A lawyer who replied got this response:
Good day to you and thank you very much for your prompt response to my email. We appreciate your willingness to render services as we have requested.
We are a company based in Colorado and our principal activity is that of a civil and Industrial construction company that specializes in the manufacturing, leasing and sale of various construction materials and equipments. We also provide general construction services with clients located throughout North America, Europe and Asia.
In order for you to run a conflict check we have provided the name of our client below and hope there is no conflict of interest that prevents you from representing us:
Tonda Construction Limited
1085 Wilton Grove Rd
London, ON N6N 1C9
Tonda Construction Limited (***a real company that is no doubt unaware they are being used in a scam. The fraudsters probably pick real businesses in whatever locale they target***)owes a total of $327,618.19 for the initial lease and eventual sale of Construction equipment and delivery service. This payment is overdue as our regular sale agreement was for total payment to be made not later than six weeks upon delivery or legal action may be enforced if payment delay exceeds 6 months. An initial payment of 10 % was made in October 2011 before the equipment was delivered. According to the terms of the agreement, this client is over 6 months late on payment as delivery was received and confirmed in good condition on 23rd of November 2011.
Since then we have made several contacts to our client requesting payment only to be informed that our payment request has been approved by their company but still awaits remittance by their accounting department.
We have been doing business with our client for a few years now and we wouldn’t want this to be the end of our fine business relationship which we have built over the past years; however our concern is that they may not meet payment deadline.
We do not want this matter to get to litigation unless necessary because it is time consuming, expensive and damaging to business relationship. We believe that our clients won’t have any choice but to comply with payment demands to avoid legal action. Once we establish legal presence in your province.
I will be updating other associates at my company on this matter and ask that you send to me a copy of your firms standard retainer agreement for our review. We are willing to provide all necessary documentation and information with regards to the issue at hand once we have agreed on terms of your representation i.e. a retainer letter from your firm.
Thank you very much and we await receipt of your firms’ standard retainer 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 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.
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.