Separation agreement scam by Hanako Simmons
Date First Reported: June 2013
Primary Name Associated: Hanako Simmons
Description of Potential Fraud:
Over 80 lawyers in the U.S. have notified us that they were contacted by the purported Hanako Simmons with regards to a to a collaborative family law agreement dispute. This is a fraud we have seen before under several other names and similar scenarios. 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: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, June 17, 2013 11:08 AM
Subject: Child Support
I wish to file a case against my ex-spouse for failure to make court ordered
payments of Child, spousal and medical support. Please reply via:
A lawyer who replied got this response and fake documentation:
Thank you for your prompt response. Sorry for the delay. Am in Japan for an assignment and Konami Simmons (ex spouse) lives in Durham, North Carolina. Due to the time difference (+13hrs EST) it is a little bit difficult to determine the best time to call you. Following our divorce, we agreed under a negotiated settlement agreement which is incorporated, merged into and made part of the court decree for a onetime cash settlement of $557,000.00USD for Family support (this includes child support, alimony and medical support). To his credit, he has paid me $208,000.00USD from a total of $557,000.00 but still owing $349.000.00USD and the due time for completion of payment is over. Thus, I request your legal counsel and representation to enforce the final judgment thereby compelling him to remit the balance owed me. He is aware of my intention to seek legal actions. Attached is a copy of the separation agreement, and Final Judgment and I will be pleased to provide further information on this case on request. I desire to retain your law firm, please forward your firm’s retainer fee agreement so that we can proceed. Thank you and have a pleasant day.
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.