Commercial debt collection scam using the names Lui Wenbo and Toyama Steel Co
Date First Reported: July 2015
Primary Name Associated: Lui Wenbo
Description of Potential Fraud:
A New York firm notified us that they received an email from the purported Lui Wenbo of Toyama Steel Co looking to retain them with regards to a commercial debt collection.
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: Mr. Lui Wenbo [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Monday, March 09, 2015 9:55 AM
Can your firm handle breach of contract case?
Mr. Lui Wenbo
Replying to the email brought this response:
Thank you for your prompt response. Attached is a copy of the sales contract, payment receipt for the deposit and our email correspondence with Fastenal Co. with regards to this transaction.
Following our request for a refund, they appealed to setup payment in two installments within a month interval, of which the first installment was paid on the 20th of November, 2014 in the amount of $497,500.00 after so much reminder and threat of involving a lawyer (payment receipt attached also). The balance was due in December, 2014 and since then, all our efforts to have them remit funds proved abortive. Detailed are all contained in our attached correspondence with Fastenal.
Total amount of goods ordered: $2,540,891.00
Initial deposit made to Fastenal (i.e. 50% of the total amount): $1,270,445.00
Amount refunded (on the 20th of November, 2014): $497,500.00
Balance amount due to Toyama Steel Co., Ltd : $772,945.00
Prior to retaining you, please forward a copy of your retainer agreement for our review and signature. We wait to hear from you.
Mr. Liu Wenbo
Toyama Steel Co., Ltd.
Toyama Administrative Center,
Suminoe-ku Osaka, Japan 559-0034
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.
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Fraud Fact SheetMore 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.