Real estate bad cheque scam by Haru Hayate
Date First Reported: June 2012
Primary Name Associated: Haru Hayate
Description of Potential Fraud:
Two Ontario lawyers have notified us that they’ve been asked to act on real estate transactions that look like an attempt at a bad cheque fraud. In both cases the fraudster (who claims to be out of the country) first contacted the local realtor, who did not detect the scam.
For more information on how this fraud works and other names attached to it, see our Confirmed Fraud page.
Here is the email one lawyer received:
From: Haru Hayate [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, June 05, 2012 05:35 PM
To: lawyer name
Subject: Application to retain your services
Dear **Lawyer Name**,
XXXXXXXXXXX, a real estate agent has forwarded me your inquiry about handling all my Legal detail regarding the property I am purchasing, please let me know if you accept to represent me so that you can send to me a retainer agreement form from your office for my signature,i shall also be please to have your BAR MEMBERSHIP NUMBER AND THE DISTRICT SERVE for Identification. I anticipate hearing from you as soon as you are in receipt of my email. Please note once more that i will be glad to have you retained for immediate forwarding of this transaction. Also note my objective of retaining you is for you to handle all monetary aspect of this transaction since i am out of the Country. As soon as you accept my offer by sending me your retainer agreement form, i shall thereafter instruct my account manager immediately to send you the check covering your charges and that of the property under purchase.
I want to sincerely inform you of my objectives of retaining you.
1). That you(Attorney) will be responsible for all my funds while this transaction will be on i.e, you(Attorney) shall be holding my fund in your Law firm trust account until the closing of this transaction cause of my not being present in the state.
2). That the said fund will be sent to you(Attorney) by my financial institution. As soon as i have enter an agreement with them, they will send a Check which you will Deposit in your Bank and clear the fund in your law firm trust account. Having cleared the Check, you will be free to collect your charges as it will be agree open.
3). That you(Attorney) will also be responsible for the review of the purchase contract.
4). That as fund become available in his Law firm account, you will pay to hire a house inspector to go inspect the property. You will also pay the earnest money to the Agent as soon as the Check cleared.
5). Remember, all payment must and should be made as i instructed you.
Kindly accept my request, as i anticipate your urgent and favorable response,
Don’t forget to send the retainer’s agreement form as soon as you accept my offer.
This is the email that was sent to the real estate agent:
From: Haru Hayate mailto:email@example.com
Sent: June-05-12 6:26 AM
To: realtor name
Subject: (I am offering $200,900)Please kindly provide me the following information of a Local attorney immediately to represent me in all legal proceedings.
This Listing MLS#: 498922 is appealing to me and my family; This will be my retirement home and it will be a cash buy
I shall be closing my purchase proceedings on 30, JULY, 2012
I shall put down $10,000.00 as the Earnest money
And Additional $50,000.00 should be put aside towards the closing but not to be added on the contract until all closing payment are completed
My name is HARU HAYATE, I presently reside at #15, kings gate parade, Victoria road, London SW1E 65H,United Kingdom, I worked and retired in Canada and my family are currently in the United State.But i am a Japanese by Citizenship, I am in London now for Business tripe as an Oil explorer Engineer, and will not be in Canada before the closing date of this transaction. So therefore,i advice you to send me your attorney information to retain him to represent me for all allege and documentation of the property. My attorney in US Scott M. Graeff, Esq. and my Account Manager will Issue payment in US Funds $250,900 USD for the earnest money, house inspection charges, attorney’s retainer fee and the down payment for the property payable to your attorney, the CHECK will deliver to your attorney.
Please kindly provide me the following information of a Local attorney immediately to represent me in all legal proceedings.
Law Firm Name…………………………………………………..
Law Firm Address………………………………………… …….
Law firm emails………………………………………………….
Law Firm Telephone…………………………………….. ……….
Lawyer’s Name……………………………………………. …….
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.
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.