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Description of Potential Fraud:

fraud-warning

Several Ontario firm notified us that they received emails from a number of names purporting to represent Fidelity Equipment Ltd and looking to retain them with regards to making a large commercial purchase. The names and associated emails are:

John Sigfrid: [email protected]
Julius Kent: [email protected]
Dennis Edgar: [email protected]
David Halvar: [email protected]
Martins Tekla [email protected]

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 initial contact email sent to the lawyer:

To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: Inquiry

Please respond if you have experience in drafting Bill of sales and purchase agreements.
John Sigfrid

Replying to the email brings this response:

We are in the process of selling one of our company’s asset (A crane )and will like you to handle the sales agreement with a bill of sale inclusive. Our buyer is located in your area. you will find buyers details below for a conflict check.
United Rentals, Inc
5614 Power Road
Gloucester, ON K1G 3N4
Attached you will find necessary details of the equipment for you to digest. If you can handle this please advise on your fee and also send over a fee agreement for review . I will like to discuss this matter further with you over the phone of course, but that’s after i must have reviewed your fee agreement and terms of representation. So please let me know available dates so i can make fit you into my schedule.
Regards,
John Sigfrid
Business Manager
Fidelity Equipment Ltd
Box 7239, S-303 91
Stockholm, SWEDEN
Tel:+46 8 559 24 654
Fax;+46 3 174 59 445


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]. We use this information for the warnings we post on AvoidAClaim. We do not disclose the names of firms that have provided us with information.

Ontario Lawyers - Call LAWPRO

If you are an Ontario lawyer acting on a matter that you suspect might be a fraud, call LAWPRO at 1-800-410-1013 (416-598-5899). One of our Fraud Team members 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, 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. 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 it is drawn upon. 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).

What if the fraud has been successful?

If you have been successfully duped, please immediately notify LAWPRO as there may be a claim against you. See the LAWPRO website for instructions on how to report a claim.

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. To proactively prevent trust account shortfalls and malpractice claims, LAWPRO encourages firms to teach their lawyers and staff about fraud and how to recognize fraud attempts.