Over 30 lawyers in Canada and the U.S. have notified us that they received an email from the purported Jonathan Maxwell looking to retain them with regards to a breach of a business loan agreement. This is similar to other frauds of this kind we have seen. For a full description of how this fraud works and to see other names attached to it, see our Confirmed Fraud page that deals with business loan frauds.
Here is the initial email:
From: JONATHAN MAXWELL [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, May 06, 2013 6:39 AM
Subject: LEGAL ASSISTANCE
I went through your profile and i believe you will be able to help me.
I borrowed money to my in-law who has paid me only 20 percent of the money
and has refused to pay me the balance so I want legal action to be taken.
Your urgent assistance will be highly appreciated. You can contact me via
this email address:
Mr. Jonathan Maxwell
Here is another variation:
I am in need of urgent legal assistance. I lent a family friend
money and he has refused to pay back the money.I checked your profile
and i found you are firm,reliable and capable of assisting me.
Below is my email address:
Mr. Jonathan Maxwell
Replying to the email brought this response and fake documentation:
I lent my son In-law Mitchell Gates the sum of $570,000 which he promised to pay back but has only
paid $114,000 and has continued promising to make the balance payment each time i ask. I am based
in japan but currently receiving treatment in the UK as a result of my failing health.
My Address is 5-2-1 Ginza, Chuo-Ku, Tokyo Japan, Zip 179-3692,
and my phone number is +447011135708.
Attached is my passport and a copy of the loan agreement entered by both party.
I will deeply appreciate if you can assist me as i need
the money to settle a lot of bills including medical bills.
Also kindly let me know how much it will cost me.
Hope to hear from you.
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.