Separation agreement scam using the name Tanaka Masato
Date First Reported: August 2013
Primary Name Associated: Tanaka Masato
Description of Potential Fraud:
An Ontario lawyer notified us that she received an email from the purported Tanaka Masato looking to retain her with regards to a collecting overdue payments resulting from a separation agreement.
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 email sent by the fraudster to the lawyer:
Sent 8/9/2013 9:40:28 PM
Subject: Hi Counsel
My name is Tanaka Masato. I am contacting your firm in regards to a divorce settlement with my ex-husband, Mr. Paul Masato who resides in your jurisdiction in Canada.
I am currently on assignment in Japan . We had an out of court Agreement (Collaborative Law Agreement) for him to pay $448,450.00 plus legal fees. He has only paid $44,000 since the agreement.
I am hereby seeking your firm to assist me in collecting the balance from him. He has agreed already to pay me the balance but it is my belief that a Law firm like yours is needed to help me collect the payment from my ex-husband Mr. Paul Masato or litigate this matter if he fails to pay as promised.
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.
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.