Three Ontario firms and one in Texas have notified us that they received an email from the purported Gianlucca Perrota of Gamma S.R.L. Limited looking to retain them with regards assisting on corporate matters, but in reality is likely a lead-up to a commercial debt collection scam or similar kind of scam.
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 to see other names associated with it. Our Fraud Fact Sheet lists 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:
Message from “gianlucca perrota” email@example.com on Tue, 26 Nov 2013 07:52:42 -0800 —–
Subject: Breach of contract
I am Gianlucca Perrota Engr the vice chairman of Gamma s.r.l based here in Vicenza , Italy , I am currently in Toronto Canada on a short business trip. We have a claim against a company in your state for breach of contract.
We seek legal counsel to assist in collecting funds owed us from our customer. We believe that by retaining local counsel in your firm, our customer will pay us sums owed in order to avoid litigation. We stand ready to provide all supporting documents to substantiate our case for settlement or litigation purposes.
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.