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Date First Reported: November 2013

Primary Name Associated: Maria Hernandez

Description of Potential Fraud:

fraud-warning

Lawyers in Ontario, South Carolina and Californa have notified us that they received an email from the purported Maria Hernandez looking to retain them with regards to a breach of a business loan agreement.

This is a classic bad cheque scam that presents as legal matter requiring the assistance of a lawyer. In this scam lawyers will be duped into wiring real funds from their trust accounts after depositing a fake cheque received as payment from the debtor (who is part of the fraud). See our Confirmed Fraud Page for more of an explanation of how these frauds work and other names associated with it , and our Fraud Fact Sheet for a list the red flags of a bogus legal matter that is really a fraud.

Here is the initial contact email sent by the fraudster to the lawyer and subsequent response:

From: Maria Hernandez [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Friday, November 22, 2013 7:19 AM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: Re:Legal representative

Dear Counsel,

My name is Maria Hernandez I am in an urgent need of legal
representation from your law firm regarding a breach of Loan agreement I
had with a friend of mine.

I need legal advice and assistance to know the
best way to handle this issue. If this is your area of practice, please
contact me to provide you with further Information.

Regards,
Maria Hernandez.

Replying to the email brought this response:

Good day to you and thanks for responding to my email.

My name is Maria Hernandez and my address is 5206 Cooper Chapel Road,
Louisville, KY 40229. On July 1st, 2011, I lend David Walker whom now
resides in your jurisdiction the sum of $450.000.00 with 8.5% interest on
two years fixed term and to pay back July 1st, 2013. He had only paid me
$75,000 but still owing $375,000.

He used to live here in Kentucky before the loan was made, but has ever
since relocated to your jurisdiction (Los Angeles). I was advised to seek
legal assistance in my borrower new jurisdiction which is why I contacted
you to act as my counsel in retrieving these funds. There has not been any
attorney working on this case. Different payment dates have been promised
and I still have not received anything. My last contact with my Borrower, I
was told I would receive payment not later than Mid August 2013 and till
now, nothing has been paid.

Kindly let me know what your fees would be in order for me to inform Mr.
Walker to expect contact from you as you have been authorized to act on my
behalf. On your approval, I would like to forward your details to him so He
knows a law firm is representing me and, I could sue for breach of
agreement if He does not oblige to the terms of the loan agreement. I would
like to give him this last chance to fulfill his obligations before we
start legal proceeding if need be.

Please do get back to me so I can furnish you with the required details to
contact my borrower on my behalf as I know He respect the law and wouldn’t
want to be litigated. Before we proceed, kindly forward your fee/letter of
engagement for my review and if satisfied with terms and conditions upon
receipt; I shall make immediate provision for the fee for you to begin work.

Thank you for your anticipated co-operation and understanding. Contact me
should you require more information. I have attached here a copy of the
Loan Agreement Promissory Note and proof of partial payment He made for
your perusal. My borrower’s name is David Walker.

Regards,

Maria Hernandez.

Hernandez Promissory Note Loan Agreement. MARIA

Hernandez Proof of Advance of Loan M

Hernandez Proof of Partial Payment He Made

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 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.