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Date First Reported: October 2015

Primary Name Associated: Cris Harper

Description of Potential Fraud:

fraud-warning

A California firm notified us that they received an email from the purported Cris Harper of Atkins Engineering Services looking to retain them with regards to making a large commercial purchase.

This appears to be 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 email received by the lawyer:

[email protected] wrote:
Hi,

My company needs an attorney that could represent us in a Purchase and Sales Transaction. Does your firm practice that area of law? A referral would be appreciated too if possible. Thank you.

Cris Harper
Project/Sales Manager
Atkins Engineering Services
1242 Commissioners Rd W
London, Ontario Canada N6K 1C7
Direct Line: [1] (226) 700-8534
Office Line: [1] (226) 984-7079
Toll Free: [1] (800) 529-4015

Replying to the email brought this response:

Thank you for the phone call earlier. So we are at the point of closing the deal but needs an attorney to guide us through the last stages with a standard Purchase and Sales Agreement. 

 Below are the details of the transaction for your review to enable you make an informed legal advice. 

My company in the process of selling a 28-inch Cutter Suction Dredging Ellicott equipment to a company, Intra-coastal Dredging Services in your state  and we would need your vast legal experience to lead us through the process. The sales price of the dredger is estimated to cost Three Million,Nine and Fifty Thousand Dollars, Zero cents ($3,950,000.00). This amount includes the shipping and handling cost, quality control testing with a partner company before shipping to ensure it meets with the US quality control standards, insurance, ETC..

I have attached to your attention the image of the equipment and full details(components and necessary particulars) of the dredger for your review. This is aimed at giving you a full breakdown of information related to the equipment so as to help you make an informed decision in the legal process and representation.

You can advise us on your retainer fees/rates including the details of your terms of engagement for my company to study. Once we are clear on the details of your retainer, we will go ahead, sign it and forward back to you to commence the process. 

I look forward to reading from you at your earliest convenience. If you have any further questions or clarifications, do not hesitate to email or call me and I will be more than happy to explain further.

To further get us started, below is the name of the prospective client company, you can run your conflict check on them:

Intra-coastal Dredging Services
PO Box 498
Newport Beach, CA 92662

Cris Harper
Project/Sales Manager
Atkins Engineering Services
1242 Commissioners Rd W
London, Ontario Canada N6K 1C7
Direct Line: [1] (226) 700-8534
Office Line: [1] (226) 984-7079
Toll Free: [1] (800) 529-4015

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.

For more immediate updates on fraud and claims prevention, subscribe to the email or RSS feed updates from LAWPRO’s AvoidAClaim blog.

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.