Commercial debt collection scam using the name Gerhard Wilkens
Date First Reported: February 2014
Primary Name Associated: Gerhard Wilkens
Description of Potential Fraud:
Sixteen U.S. firms have notified us that they received an email from the purported Gerhard Wilkens 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 sent by the fraudster to the lawyer, and subsequent response:
From: Gerhard Wilkens [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Thursday, February 06, 2014 12:37 AM
Subject: BREACH OF CONTRACT CONTENTION
My name is Gerhard Wilkens, I need an attorney to handle a commercial litigation / contract matter.
Please let me know if your services are available.
Thank you as I look forward to your response soon.
Replying to the email brought this response:
I was away on medical leave therefore my delayed response. I am contacting you in regards to a breach of loan agreement. Safway Services llc. is a company we had been in business relationship with for several years. They requested a loan from our company to provide working capital for their facility in Louisiana for the amount of $7,570,000.00USD with an annual interest rate of 8.0%. amounting to $8,216,894.31USD to be paid in 24 months. Payments of $7,565,461.37USD had been made, however, the outstanding balance of $651,432.94USD has not been paid till date.
On behalf of my company, I would like to enforce our rights on the Loan agreement. Please contact me as soon as possible for more details if this is a case you might be interested to take on.
DEW Wartungs und Reparatur GmbH
Tel: +49 44418204199
Fax: +49 4049219669
One lawyer received a voicemail from the fraudster. Click below to listen to it.
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.