40 lawyers in the US and Ontario have notified us that they have received an email from the purported Edward Scholes of J&A McDougalls Ltd 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: Edward Scholes. [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, March 08, 2013 8:36 AM
Subject: Contract Dispute.
We seek an attorney who handles breach of contract matters.Let us know if your firm takes such cases.
A lawyer who replied got this response and fake documentation:
From: Edward Scholes
Sent: Thursday, March 14, 2013 4:27 PM
We would like to thank you for your response to our inquiry for legal services.
However, We wish to inform you that we would be needing your firms legal help to assist us with a breach of contract matter and also retrieve funds owed to our company. We ordered goods from Lowe’s Companies, Inc. And was asked to make a 50% down payment for goods to be delivered to us and that we did and up till date no goods were delivered. We asked for a refund and they made a part payment and after that no other payment was made. We seek legal help from your firm to help us collect these funds owed to our company as we do not wish to go any further with the said transaction. We have made several attempts in the past to collect these funds which all ended negatively.
We are aware that a conflict search would need to be done. Please find below details of the owing company.
Here is the name of our supplier for your conflict check of interest-
Lowe’s Companies, Inc
8411 South Holland Road
Chicago, IL 60620
Attached to this email you will find attached copy of contract, email correspondence and proof of payment for your perusal. We are prepared to pay a reasonable retainer fee for this service as soon as our board gets to review the terms of your engagement. So please have that sent to my attention via email if this is a case you are willing to handle.
What we require from your firm is to Provide legal advice, collect funds owed to us and bring actions in court against Lowe’s Companies, Inc. If the need be. We look forward to your prompt response. We wanted to also inform you that the said funds owed to us has caused a great strain on our company’s operational capital and we want this issue to be resolved quickly. We would like to know a few things about your firm and also how you intend to handle this case. Find our concerns and questions below.
• Which of the court in the United States would be appropriate to file for law suits?
• How many matters have you handled in the past years?
• We would like to know your fee structure in details first, as we don’t want any confusion in relating to payments.
• We would also like to know if you will be handling the case yourself as most attorneys hand their cases to junior attorneys.
• What kind of background or experience do you have in this specific area?
• We would like know your means/advice of alternative dispute solution on the case?
However, if you are able to help us with legal services do have your retainer agreement prepared and forwarded to us for proper review of your terms and conditions to enable us know if we can employ your services as time is of essence.
If you have any questions contact me personally anytime by email or call. You would find contact details at my signature block.
Edward G Scholes
J&A Mcdougalls ltd
32 Combie Street
Oban PA34 4HT,United Kingdom
TEL:01622 37 0798
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.