Separation agreement scam using the name Akemi Koch
Date First Reported: May 2014
Primary Name Associated: Akemi Koch
Description of Potential Fraud:
[Updated June 2014]
Seventy lawyers in Ontario and the U.S. have notified us that they received an email from the purported Akemi Koch looking to retain them with regards to a collecting overdue payments resulting from a separation 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 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: [email protected]
Date: May 19, 2014, 5:50:34 AM CDT
Subject: Contempt Action:
Please, advise if you handle cases with regards enforcement of court order
arising from divorce.
Replying to the email brought this response:
Thank you for your prompt response. I am currently living in Japan and Warren Dave Koch (ex-husband) lives in Beverly Hills , CA. It is slightly difficult to reach you on phone as a result of the time difference (+13 hrs EST). Prior to our divorce, we agreed under a negotiated settlement agreement which is incorporated, merged into and made part of the court decree for a one-time payment of $933,380.00USD for Family support (this includes child support, alimony and medical support). To his credit, he has paid me $363,500.00USD but still owing $569,880.00USD and the due time for completion of payment is over. Attached is a copy of the separation agreement and Final Judgment. Thus, I request your legal counsel and representation to enforce the final judgment thereby compelling him to remit the balance owed me. He is aware of my intention to seek legal actions. I desire to retain your law firm, please forward your firm’s retainer fee agreement for review and possible appending of signature. I will be pleased to provide further information on this case on request. Just so you know, i share in the thought of payment of retainer fee prior to commencement of work. Thank you and have a pleasant day.
23 Kogyo Danchi,
Fukushima Japan 965-8502
+81 (0) 505 809-8290
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.