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Date First Reported: February 2015

Primary Name Associated: Nic De Roeck

Description of Potential Fraud:

fraud-warning

A California firm notified us that they received an email from the purported Nic De Roeck and Jan De Nul NV 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:

On Thursday, February 19, 2015, Jan De wrote:
Â
Hello
I am in search of an attorney/firm that handles purchase and sales agreement in your city, got your info browsing through,if your firm does that kindly get back to me or a referral will be appreciated.
Â
Regards
Nic De Roeck
Regional Manager –
Civil & Marine Works, International Division
Jan De Nul NV
Tragel 60, 9308 Hofstade-Aalst Belgium

Replying to the email brought this response:

I appreciate your response to my inquiry, I am almost done negotiating sale of a dredger to a buyer residing in your area, currently I am in need of an attorney to help me draft a purchase and sale agreement for the transaction, the buyer has conducted primary inspection and he is satisfied. I have attached some necessary details of the dredger for your review, Please i will need your advise on your rate, retainer fee and forward to me your retainer  agreement to sign. below is the name of the proposed buyer for your conflict check

Proposed Buyer
Camenzind Dredging Inc
792 Montrose Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94303

Regards
Nic De Roeck
Regional Manager –
Civil & Marine Works, International Division
Jan De Nul NV Group
Tragel 60, 9308 Hofstade-Aalst Belgium
Direct Line:+3278484042

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 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.