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Date First Reported: September 2014

Primary Name Associated: Erica Mills

Description of Potential Fraud:

fraud-warning

A Texas firm notified us that they received an email from the purported Erica Mills looking to retain them with regards to a breach of a business loan 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 other names associated with it , and our Fraud Fact Sheet for a list 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’s intake site, and subsequent reply:

From: Erica Mills
Date: September 7, 2014 at 7:52:04 PM CDT
To:
Subject: Hello
Good Day,
Would you please be able to assist me on a litigation case, regarding a friend who has defaulted in paying back the money I loaned him?
Best Regards
Erica Mills

Replying to the email brought this response:

I am very grateful to your prompt response to my email request. Like I stated in my previous email, I am having difficulties to collect back the money I loaned to an old friend. I said an old friend because I do not consider him a friend and do not want anything to do with him anymore because he totally betrayed my trust and friendship. My names are Erica Mills, Canadian from British Columbia. In May of 2012 my then friend * DANIEL ANDERSON asked that i loaned him the sum of ($300,000.00) CAD which he claimed he needed urgently to boost his failing construction business, and i declined. Daniel’s mum and my mother were best of friends and we have been childhood friends too. Though he was born in Vancouver like me but his parents are from the US. Few weeks later, his mum asked my mum to intercede on his son’s behalf regarding the loan. Daniel’s and his mum knew that I received a reasonable amount of money from my late dad’s inheritance, and I was in the position to assist if I choose to.
After much pleading from my mother, Daniel’s mum and Daniel himself, I succumbed and finally loaned him the money in July of 2012. The loan was secured with his house in Maple Ridge, Canada. There was no interest on the loan due to our friendship and family ties. He was supposed to pay me back the loan by the due date which was July 16th 2014. He relocated to the States in May of 2013 and he now resides at 1913A PINE TREE DRIVE BRYAN, TX 77802-3489. I have tried to collect my money back from him since the due date of the loan to no success, he has been coming up with different reasons why he has not paid me back my money till now. It is my belief and to the best of my understanding according to the Governing Law of the loan agreement in Article 7, I am certain you would be able to help me retrieve my money from him there in the US. I am a private Realtor and currently in Tokyo since last month for some business proposals and I will be here until early December this year. I would have called you directly to speak to you regarding my case, but due to the time differences I am having difficulties to achieve that.
Attached to this email is the loan agreement that was reached between us for the loan, also attached is the CIBC Bank Draft i issued him for the loan. Please do let me know if this is what you would be able to assist me with, and if yes, I will advise you to please forward me your retainer agreement indicating the amount I am suppose to pay you upfront for your retainer fee to enable you commence work.
Lest I forget, below is the last email I got from him after telling him that I was going to seek the assistance of a lawyer to help me collect my money from him.

Regards

Erica

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. Instructions on how to report a claim are here.

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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.