Two lawyers in California have notified us that they’ve been contacted by the purported Justine Rivers with regards to an employee injury settlement scam. In this type of fraud the lawyer is retained to help collect on an employee injury settlement. The fraudster will claim that they are overseas, but the employer is in their jurisdiction.
For details on how this fraud works and to see other names associated with it, see our Confirmed Fraud page.
Here is the initial email:
From: Justine Rivers [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 6:25 AM
To: lawyer name
Subject: Attn- Counsel
I am seeking legal representation from your law firm regarding a breach of Settlement agreement with my former employer, I need proper legal advice and assistance to know the best way to handle this issue.
Please contact me at your earliest convenience so I can provide you with more detailed information.
A lawyer who replied got this response and fake settlement agreement:
Thanks for getting back to me and my apologizes for not responding sooner, it’s due to my ill health condition, because of the time difference between Japan and the U.S email communication will be best for us. My home computer is faulty but will be getting it back from the computer technician sometime next week, so my response to your email will be a little slow in the main time till I get my computer back next week.
I will give you a little detailed description of the incident with my former employer “North American Iron And Steel Company”, I was previously employed by NAIS as a cleaner, on the 12th of July 2011 I was going about my cleaning duties when the company’s truck hit me while reversing inside the warehouse premises located in California.
I did not have an attorney representing me when I entered into a settlement agreement and general release with them on October 23rd, 2011 for $639,000 because the accident lead to permanent disability on my waist and I can’t stand for long anymore as a result of the accident, the settlement amount was supposed to be paid in full within a year and I have only received $200,000 which was paid in two instalments of $100,000, these two payments were made while I was still in the U.S but have not received a dollar since I arrived Japan this past January, they still owe me $439,000.
They have promised different payment dates and I still have not received any payment, the last time I contacted them, I was told I would receive payment not later than Mid-October 2012 and I haven’t, which is why I contacted you to act on my behalf as my attorney, I believe that once I have an attorney representing me they will have no option but comply with payment request or face possible litigation for breach of agreement and I know these companies respect law firms and do not want to be carried to court, I would like your legal expertise in this matter on a contingency basis if that is acceptable, it would be very helpful if I receive your engagement letter for review and if your terms and conditions are okay by me, I will sign and return to you so we can start legal proceedings.
I have attached copies of the settlement agreement here, my telephone number is 81-50-5534-6333 and my address is also started below.
Thank you and looking forward to hearing from you soon.
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.
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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.