Four U.S. lawyers have notified us that they received an email from the purported Steven (or Gregory) Hammond of Rilmac Holdings 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
From: Steven Hammond [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, March 10, 2014 11:53 AM
We request your service for breach of contract/litigation case. Kindly advice if you can be of assistance. A referral would be welcomed if this is not your area of practice.
Replying to the email brought this response:
I want to thank you for taking time in following up with our request. Our company purchased steel materials from Cooper’s Steel Fabricators. which you already know is our debtor. We carried out an inspection on the materials before making payment and arrangements on shipping. After the first inspection was done we agreed to pay them the full amount which was stated on the sales contract. On the day of sailing we carried out a final inspection and discovered that the materials on board was not the same we had inspected previously, on that note we cancelled our order and requested for our funds. They promised to return the funds two weeks from the day of cancellation which was 20th of September 2013. We feel if we do not take quick action on this matter we might be on the risk of loosing $2,200,000.00 USD. Find attached our email correspondence with Cooper’s Steel Fabricators.
Please kindly send us your engagement letter.
RILMAC HOLDINGS LTD
Crofton Drive, Allenby Road Industrial Estate,
Lincoln, Lincolnshire LN3 4NJ
T: +44 793 701 4296
F: +44 809 174 0719
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. 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.