Lawyers in Ontario, the U.S. and Puerto Rico have notified us that they received an email from the purported Stefans Nikolajs with regards to a commercial debt collection 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: Stefans Nikolajs [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, June 05, 2013 1:22 AM
Subject: New Case
We are seeking for a lawyer to assist in a collection case that requires immediate attention. If this is within your line of practice please contact me at your earliest convenience. I will also need a referral if this is not within your line of practice.
A lawyer that replied got this response and fake documentation:
Thanks for your reply. We sold a 3000 Tonne oil tanker vessel to this company(SNC OIL COMPANY). During the process of this transaction, they made it clear to us that they did not have the money in full which was 4,500,000 US Dollars. They requested to make a payment of 3 million dollars upfront and the balance 1.5 million will be paid ninety days after the vessel has been delivered to the United States. We figured this will not be a problem as they were willing to sign an MOU from our legal department. We felt comfortable because, we did a back ground check on this company and we had dealt with lots of clients this way in the past without any problem. It’s now been 180 days late in remitting the money been owed. I believe with the help of your firm they will treat this matter as urgent. We have all supporting documents like the wire transfer of Three million dollars, Bill of lading, Sales contract, vessel information, Memorandum of understanding signed by the debtor and Email correspondence between our sales department and the buyer. Find attached our email correspondence with SNC OIL COMPANY.
I believe you are familiar with such default cases and you will need all the supporting documents to proceed with the case, but before moving forward I will like to review your retainer agreement either on hourly bases or contingency. Once your agreement has been reviewed, I will furnish you with all the necessary documents and also schedule a conference call if necessary. I hope to hear from you soon.
JSC Tosmare Shipyard
42/44, Generala Baloza Str.
Liepaja, LV-3414, Latvia
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.
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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.