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Date First Reported: April 2016

Primary Name Associated: Michael Lambrix

Description of Potential Fraud:

fraud-warning

Eight Ontario firms notified us that they received an email from the purported Michael Lambrix looking to retain them with regards to a breach of a business loan agreement.

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 other names associated with it , and our Fraud Fact Sheet for a list the red flags of a bogus legal matter that is really a fraud.

Here is the initial contact email sent to the lawyer:


—– Message from “Michael Lambrix” [email protected] on Tue, 5 Apr 2016 19:48:07 -0400 —–
To:
Subject: Request for Legal Representative
Dear Counsel,

I am pressed to make request for your legal representation as i do not want to take the law into my hands.

I loaned a friend some money last year, paying back has resulted to a problem i cannot understand because each time she promises to pay back something arises and she defaults. Please i need your assistance here if this is something you can handle.

With regards,

Michael D Lambrix.

Replying to the email brought this response:

Thank you so much for your prompt response.

I extended a soft loan facility to my former friend Susan Peters, who currently lives at ON the sum of cdn$175.000.00 in August of 2014, when she claimed that her business was going through financial difficulties. She has been coming up with one reason or the other why she has not been able to pay me back the money since the due date of the loan which was the 25th of August 2015. I’m currently away from the city on a business trip, that is why i am seeking your assistance in collecting my money from her. Please do forward me your retainer agreement and your terms for my review, if this is something you can assist me with.

Attached is the copy of the cheque i issued to her for the loan, as well as the Loan Agreement that was reached in Canada between Susan Peters and i, once yo u agree to take up my case.

Best Regards
Michael D Lambrix.

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.