Firms in Washington state and Utah notified us that they received an email from the purported Wynona Powers 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@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, July 07, 2014 9:44 AM
To: Shane Lidman
Subject: Seeking Legal Representation In Your County
RE: Seeking Legal Representation In Your County
Seeking your Legal Representation to help enforce the financial terms of
the “Marital Separation Agreement” signed January 21st,2013 by Mr.
Rodney Hatfield (Husband) which he hasn’t comply with after the death of
my Attorney. Reply my email and let me know if I can retain you as my
attorney to help enforce the financial terms of the signed Agreement on
my behalf while I’m still here in Afghanistan on active Military
Overseas Deployment. Thank you and looking forward to your response.
PFC. Wynona Powers
Replying to the email brought this response:
Mr. Rodney (husband) now resides in Box Elder County, Utah. To get started, you’ve got to let me know what are your Charges; First, to go for the option of enforcing the financial terms of the signed Separation Agreement here attached for your reference which he hasn’t comply to, if it’s enforceable and if not we go for the second option of getting the Separation Agreement adopted by the court which turns it into a Court order or Judgment and then do a petition to have Mr. Rodney (husband) held in contempt. whichever option is going to serve my best interest please let me know since I won’t be able to attend the court proceedings while on overseas deployment. Thank you and looking forward to your response.
PFC. Wynona Powers
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.