Commercial debt collection scam using the names Marco Baptiste and Computer Services Group
Date First Reported: August 2013
Primary Name Associated: Marco Baptiste
Description of Potential Fraud:
A Pennsylvania lawyer notified us that they received an email from the purported Marco Baptiste of Computer Services Group looking to retain them with regards to a commercial debt collection.
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 and subsequent replies sent by the fraudster to the lawyer:
From: Computer Services Group [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Wednesday, August 07, 2013 2:02 PM
Subject: Legal Representation Needed
We require the services of a legal representative to assist us with business litigation matters. Please kindly advise if you currently taking on new clients so I can send details of the dispute and involving parties.
Marco J. Baptiste
Director of International Operations
Email: [email protected]
Replying to the email brought this response:
The default is with Baz Apparel LLC [of] 1895, Lincoln Way, Suite # 23-207, Pittsburgh PA 15131 USA.
We have a Service Contract Agreement with them to manage and maintain their technology infrastructures. The contract was effective from the 16th July 2010 till the 15th July 2015.
The service fee which is payable quarterly has three invoices outstanding to a total of $1,060,270.30 is due.
We have attempted to resolve this matter amicably by following all procedures in the agreement. In my last conversation with Mr. Mark Raymond (Head of the Account dept), he blamed the current economical crisis for the default in payment but informed me that the company has seen growth this quarter and will be in a position to clear the arrears on or before the 30th November. Unfortunately as at today no payment has been made.
On the 18th December we gave them a 30 days written notice to have all services suspended if the arrears is not cleared. We also informed them that we will be consulting an attorney to take legal action against them.
We understand the concept of running a conflict check that is why we are providing our delinquent customer located in your state for your conflict check and to enable you present to us your RETAINER AGREEMENT for your services.
Please find attached the service contract agreement, kindly advise If you can be of any assistance.
I am looking forward to hearing from you.
Director of International Operations
Computer Services Group
Hardturmstrasse 181, CH-8005, Zürich
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.
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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.