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Date First Reported: June 2015

Primary Name Associated: Piet Haerens

Description of Potential Fraud:

fraud-warning

Firms in Ontario and North Carolina notified us that they received an email from the purported Piet Haerens of International Marine & Dredging Consultants 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:

From: Piet Haerens [mailto:dereckoerlemans@outlook.com]
Sent: Wednesday, June 03, 2015 12:46 PM
To:
Subject: Do you handle purchase and sales transaction?

Hi,

We are a Europe based Marine Construction firm and we need an attorney to assist us in drafting a purchase and Sales agreement with a buyer in your area. Are you able to take this matter? If not, a referral will be appreciated

Regards,

Piet Haerens
Commercial Head of Department –
Offshore, Dredging and Environment
International Marine & Dredging Consultants (IMDC)
Coveliersstraat 15
B-2600 Berchem (Antwerp) Belgium

Replying to the email brought this response:

We have been negotiating the sale of a dredger to a buyer in your state and have made some progress in price agreement. At this point we need an attorney that would draft a purchase and sales agreement for the transaction.

Find our buyer information’s below. I also attached details of the dredging equipment for your review and I would like to know your rate and your retainer fee. Please send to me your engagement letter if our buyer clears your conflict check.

Equipment Corp. of America
7349A W. Friendly Ave.
Greensboro, NC 27410.

Regards.

Piet Haerens
Commercial Head of Department –
Offshore, Dredging and Environment
International Marine & Dredging Consultants (IMDC)
Coveliersstraat 15
B-2600 Berchem (Antwerp) Belgium

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 fraudinfo@lawpro.ca.

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.