Commercial debt collection scam using the names Roland Meisel and Celonic AG
Date First Reported: January 2015
Primary Name Associated: Roland Meisel
Description of Potential Fraud:
Firms in Georgia and California notified us that they received an email from the purported Roland Meisel and Celonic AG looking to retain them with regards to a commercial debt collection.
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 from the fraudster to the lawyer:
From: Roland Meisel [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Saturday, December 06, 2014 12:30 PM
Subject: Contract Dispute with Ge
What are our chances in suing a company over failing contract dispute
obligation, spanning over three months?
Tel: +41 44 58 60 66 8
Fax: + 41 44 35 53 098
Replying to the email brought this response:
Happy New Year. We would like to thank you for your response to our inquiry for legal services.
However, We wish to inform you that we would be needing your firms legal help to assist us with a breach of contract matter and also retrieve funds owed to our company. The contract of sales was signed on the 8th August 2014, GE Healthcare was supposed to deliver to us on or before 27th August 2014. However, the deadline date was extended to 08th September 2014 as requested for by the GE Healthcare. Quite unfortunately, the extended deadline was not honored.
We ordered goods from GE Healthcare, and we were asked to make a 75% down payment for goods to be delivered to us and that we did, and up till date no goods were delivered. We asked for a refund but they have refused to make the refund to us. The amount in dispute is $1,163,287.5
Right now, I will like to take appropriate steps and measures to enforce our rights on the agreement and/ or claim damages as appropriate. We request a 5% interest on a monthly bases from the day the contract was breached.
If your firm is retained, our expectation of your services for now will be within the scenario of a engagement letter to our client. This approach will trigger the much needed response from our client towards amicable settlement otherwise we will not hesitate to go into court litigation. We are prepared to pay your retainer fees.
Here are the details of GE Healthcare
7419 Broadwell Rd, Alpharetta, GA 30004
Attached to this email are documents relating to this transaction for your review. Please email me your standard retainer agreement address it to Dr. Andreas Herrmann the manager Director.
Tel: +41 44 58 60 66 8
Fax: + 41 44 35 53 098
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.
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.