Commercial debt collection scam using the names Derrick Fisher and Brenntag Specialties
Date First Reported: February 2015
Primary Name Associated: Derrick Fisher
Description of Potential Fraud:
A Kentucky firm notified us that they received an email from the purported Derrick Fisher of Brenntag Specialties 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: Brenntag Specialties Inc
Sent: February 02, 2015 5:10 PM
Subject: Service Needed.
I need your service to recover debt from a client, bearing in mind
that I will still want to keep my business relationship with this
client everything should be treated in confidentiality.
Kindly, let me know if you can be of service so that I can forward
details for you to run a conflict check as the case may be.
Awaiting your response.
Replying to the email brought this response:
Sorry for the late response, I was on a short trip to Luxembourg.
Meanwhile, I understand the importance of retaining your services
accordingly and I understand your request for more information and I
will not relent in providing information as they deem necessary. I
am of the opinion that once my presence is established through a
professional like you our customer will have no option but comply
with payment request to avoid legal action and litigation.
I believe that a normal scenario will require demand letter from you
to our delinquent customer if your services are retained. I humbly
request that litigation should be applied as a last resort as I
intend to preserve the relationship I have with our customer after
payment is made.
I do not intend to resort to litigation unless all other options
have been exhausted but will also like the comfort of knowing that
the option is available and letting our customer know that
litigation may be enforced if the option becomes necessary.
Understand the present economic meltdown all around the globe,
however, I also need to service our creditors.
This particular customer(NOVA Chemicals Corporation) was chemicals
worth $972,500.00 of which they made a part payment of $600,000.00.
The sum of
$372,500.00 is been past due as our regular sale agreement requires
customers to effect payment not later than 30-45 days upon delivery
or legal action maybe enforced if payment delay exceeds a particular
period of time.
My calculation shows that payment is long over due it will be very
helpful if we can resolve this matter based on your professional
I will forward the sales agreement and invoice and any relevant
documents I sent to the customer in the past.
I thank you for your time as we look forward to your prompt
response; I look forward to a fruitful business relationship.
Most importantly, do not contact my customer for now lets see how it
turns out to be.
I await your response,
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are an Ontario lawyer who suspects 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.