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Date First Reported: December 2014

Primary Name Associated: Matthieu Herbert

Description of Potential Fraud:

fraud-warning

Two Ontario firms notified us that they received an email from the purported Matthieu Herbert of DEME Group looking to retain them with regards to making a large commercial purchase.

This is a 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 purchaser (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: Matthieu Herbert [mailto:info-deme@groupmail.com]
Sent: Monday, December 15, 2014 9:18 PM
To:
Subject: Enquiry…

Hi

Does your firm handle purchase & sale transactions and agreements? I f not, a referral will be appreciated

Matthieu Herbert
Head of Purchase & Logistics
Dredging, Environmental & Marine Engineering
DEME Group
Head Office: Haven 1025Scheldedijk, 30 2070 Zwijndrecht, Belgium
Logistics: Level 21,Center, 99 Queen’s Road Central Hong Kong
Direct Line: +3289680239

Replying to the email brought this response:

I am in the process of selling a dredger to a buyer residing in your area. I need an attorney to
help me draft a purchase and sale agreement for the transaction. I have attached some necessary details
of the dredger for your review, please advise on your rate, retainer fee and forward to me your retainer
agreement to sign. Find below the name of the proposed buyer for your conflict check.

Proposed Buyer:
St Lawrence Marine & Dredging
87 Fitzsimmons Rd
Lansdowne, ON Canada

Matthieu Herbert
Head of Purchase & Logistics
Dredging, Environmental & Marine Engineering
DEME Group
Head Office: Haven 1025Scheldedijk, 30 2070 Zwijndrecht, Belgium
Logistics: Level 21,Center, 99 Queen’s Road Central Hong Kong
Direct Line: +3289680239

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 fraudinfo@lawpro.ca.

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.

What can you do to help put a stop to the fraud attempt? You can simply stop replying to the fraudster’s emails or inform them that you suspect fraud and will not act on the matter (or will take no further actions on the matter). You can report the fraudsters email addresses to the email hosting company. If you have a fraudulent cheque you can destroy it or send it to the fraud department of the financial institution, which may wish to see it. In Canada, you can report the fraud to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

We are often asked if it is worthwhile to report the fraud attempt to the police in the hopes of helping catch the fraudsters. You can certainly report the fraud to your local or federal law enforcement agencies, but unfortunately it is often difficult, expensive and time consuming for them to attempt to shut down these online fraud perpetrators (though there are some successes).

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.