Commercial equipment purchase scam using the names Morris Riccardo and Mega Equipment & Dredging
Date First Reported: January 2016
Primary Name Associated: Morris Riccardo
Description of Potential Fraud:
Four firms in the U.S. have notified us that they received an email from the purported Morris Riccardo of Mega Equipment & Dredging 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 initial contact email sent to the lawyer:
From: Mega Equipment Dredging Inc <[email protected]>
Sent: Monday, January 11, 2016 3:33 PM
Was wondering if your firm can undertake for my company a purchase and sales transaction? If not, a referral will be appreciated thanks.
( Director of Sales)
Mega Equipment & Dredging Inc
105 North Harbour Rd W Goderich,
Replying to the email brought this response:
I am the Director of sales of Mega Equipment & Dredging, Inc. We are in the process of selling a 28-inch Cutter Suction Dredging Ellicott equipment, 16-inch DMI Ladder-Pump Dredge, 8″ – 12″ Centrifugal Dredge and a Drilling Rig Machine to a company, in your state. For this transaction to be completed within the stipulated period, we would need legal guidance to help my company follow due process of doing business in you state since we are not located there.
The sales price of this equipment is estimated to cost $2,950,000.00. 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 standard, insurance, and other necessary documentations that needs approval before the equipment is shipped to the client.
See attached documents for your review. The Letter of Intent (LOI) will be sent together once we sign your engagement letter. 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.
Below is the name of the prospective client company, for your conflict check:
Proposed Buyer: Edwin Morgan
GREAT LAKES DREDGE & DOCK
241 Scotham Ave
Cleveland, OH 44113
Thanks, looking forward to your prompt responses.
Director of Sales
Mega Equipment & Dredging Inc
105 North Harbour Rd W
Goderich, ON N7A 2W5
Toll free: 1-888-857-8225
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.
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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.