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Date First Reported: April 2014

Primary Name Associated: Kitazawa Masaakira

Description of Potential Fraud:

fraud-warning

Lawyers in Serbia, Macedonia and Bulgaria notified us that they received an email from the purported Kitazawa Masaakira 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:

On Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 6:07 PM, Anderson Mori & Tomotsune [email protected] wrote:
Dear Colleague,

My client name is Mrs Mikazuki Kamenosuke. I need your help in regards to a divorce settlement with her ex husband Mr Hachiuma Kamenosuke who resides in your jurisdiction. I am currently on assignment in China. We had an out of court agreement (Collaborative Law Agreement) for him to pay $748,450.00 plus legal fees. He has only paid me $148,000 since.

I am hereby seeking your firm`s assistance in collecting the balance from him. He has agreed already to pay my client the balance but it is my belief that a Law firm like yours is needed to help me collect/enforce payment from her ex-husband or litigate this matter if he fails to pay as promised.

I would love to discuses this further because of the time difference between Asia and Yours we prefer communication via email.

Kind Regards,
Kitazawa Masaakira
attorney-at-law
Akasaka K-Tower, 2-7, Motoakasaka 1-chome
Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0051, Japan
(Reception: 22nd Floor)

Replying to the email brought this response:

Thanks for the reply. My client ex-husband live in Bulgaria right now. I want you to know that, my client and her ex-husband had a collaborative agreement, an out of court agreement after their final Divorce Decree, to pay my client Mikazuki a one time cash settlement of $ 748,450.00 usd to his credit, he has paid me $ 148,000.00 usd but still owing $ 600,450.00 usd. Attach herewith is a copy of the Collaborative law agreement in pdf format for your review.

The lawyer that represented my client is (Ms.Susan E. Hargrove) is retired now and I have not been able to make contact with her til date. As you know time is of great essence. As stated in the collaborative law agreement, I understand that any lawyer can represent both party when appropriate and needed. My client husband is aware of my intention to seek legal actions and I am yet to advise him I’m planning on retaining your firm.

If possible please send me a retainer agreement so that we can proceed. All the necessary information my client has given to you is what she can offer for now, once I receive a standard retainer from your firm, I will go through the agreement and I will get back to you within the next couples of days, and if I am satisfied with what ever I see, I will provide you with more documentations and copy of divorce decree regarding Mr. Hachiuma and I and also give your firm a call at my earliest convenience. I hope to hear from you soonest in this regards.

Kind Regards,

Kitazawa Masaakira
attorney-at-law
Akasaka K-Tower, 2-7, Motoakasaka 1-chome
Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0051, Japan
(Reception: 22nd Floor)

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.