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Date First Reported: June 2014

Primary Name Associated: Jim Berdzik

Description of Potential Fraud:

fraud-warning

Two Ontario firms notified us that they received an email from the purported Jim Berdzik (or Alvey Stevenson) of John Reid & Sons Ltd 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 email sent by the fraudster to the lawyer:

From: Jim . [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: June 16, 2014 8:00 AM
To:
Subject: FW: Inquiry

Good Day Shaun,

This is a request for your legal consultation services, I would like your advice regarding possible representation on a litigation case concerning breach of contract.

Regards,
Jim Berdzik

Replying to the email brought this response:

Thanks for your response, I want to indulge your firm to represent us with regards to a contract case. Find
below our debtors information for a conflict check, before we can schedule for a telephone conference.

North York Iron
1100 Flint Rd Toronto, ON M3J 2J5

We hope to hear from you at your earliest convenience.

Sincerely,
Alvey Stevenson.
John REID & Sons Ltd.
Strucsteel House, 6-106 Reid St,
Christchurch, Dorset BH23 2BT, United Kingdom.
T: +44 793 701 4296
F: +44 809 174 0930”

Here is another response:

Thanks for your response, I want to indulge your firm to represent us with regards to a contract case. Find below our debtors information for a conflict check, before we can schedule for a telephone conference.

Boss Steel Ltd.
320 Newkirk Rd, Richmond Hill, Ontario L4C 3G7 Canada

We hope to hear from you at your earliest convenience.

Sincerely,
Jim Berdzik.
John REID & Sons Ltd.
Strucsteel House, 6-106 Reid St,
Christchurch, Dorset BH23 2BT, United Kingdom.
T: +44 793 701 4296
F: +44 809 174 0930

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.

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.