[Updated May 2014]
33 lawyers in Canada and the U.S. have notified us that they received an email from the purported Hania Marmon (or Hania Allen) 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: Hania Marmon [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 5:08 AM
Subject: Legal Representation
March 11, 2014
This letter is regarding inquiry if your firm handles family law cases. My ex-husband violated court order in payment of child,
spousal and medical support. Please advise if you handle such case.
Replying to the email brought this response:
Sorry for the delay in response, i am contacting your office because of an agreement in place and I have tried calling but its little bit difficult to reach your law office due to the much hours difference in time, my ex husband Mr. Allen has failed to obey court order as agreed.
We entered a separation agreement incorporated, merged into and made part of the court decree for a settlement of child support, spousal support, and medical support of $1,311.020.00, he has paid me $436,820.00 but still owing $874,200.00 and he refuse now the stipulated time for completion of payment has long elapsed and i know he has the financial means to pay the balance owed to me.
And he refuse to produce the balance I request your legal services with regards to compelling him to remit balance owed to me with full force Mr. Allen now lives in Pasadena, California. He is a citizen in your country.
Please Attached is a copy of the Separation Agreement and the Final Judgment.I will be pleased to provide further information on this case on request and I expect this to be resolved in a timely manner.
I wish to retain your firm for this purpose and let me know your retainer fee to handle this case. Please send me a copy of your retainer agreement and if the terms are acceptable I will retained your firm so we can commence the process without delay,
Thank you for your cooperation.
6F, 7-11 hamamachi, Nagasaki, 850-0853, Japan.
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.
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.