Equipment purchase scam using the names Vikram Somany and CERA Sanitaryware Ltd.
Date First Reported: August 2016
Primary Name Associated: Vikram Somany
Description of Potential Fraud:
Firms in California have notified us that they received an email from the purported Vikram Somany of CERA Sanitaryware Ltd. looking to retain them with regards to assisting on a large commercial purchase & sale.
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: Vikram Somany [email protected]
Subject: Business Dispute/Litigation
Thank you for your email. It’s a great relief to have this finally looked into by a professional and I look forward to reaching resolution to this case and would appreciate your assistance, your worth as a lawyer is determined by how well you serve the true interest of your clients. We believe the key is finding a successful lawyer that is known for getting deals done and any code of professional ethics is the injunction to put the client interests first.
A client of ours placed an urgent demand for some products which we didn’t have available at that time. We reached out to WAXIE Sanitary Supply, entered into a contract after their price were reviewed and accepted by us. The time we agreed upon to have products delivered passed and still none of the products were delivered. We requested for a full refund after confirming our contract with them void. We tried retrieving funds ourselves but to no avail. We kept getting empty promises and this has lingered on for quite some time now. We are afraid we may never get paid unless legal action is not introduced. That is why we have come to you.
WAXIE Sanitary Supply
9353 WAXIE Way
San Diego, CA 92123-1036
Every cent must be recovered even if it comes to litigation. We can’t allow them ruin our business relationship with a very good client and still keep our money. Because of this failed transaction we have incurred a financial distress. We can’t afford to maintain our staff strength and keep our business running smoothly if losses like this happen every day. Attached to this email you will find the contract agreement related to this transaction. Review and please let us know your thoughts. We have some concerns below we would also like to be addressed in your next email.
Do you have any cases like mine right now or have you recently concluded any? Do you see any debilities in our case? How much relevant experience do you have? What is your fee to handle a case like this? Are there other ways for solving our case? Dilatoriness is not something we condone, Can you guarantee prompt response to emails and calls?
Please send your legal agreement which includes your fee structure and resume for review or give us a recommendation if you cannot handle our case.
Chairman & Managing Director
CERA Sanitaryware Ltd.
Mudgal Lounge, 2nd Floor, 23, Chetla Central Road, Opp.
Chetla Central Park, Kolkata 700027
Toll Free 1323-412-7024
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.
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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. 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.