Family collection scam email from Kathy Cheung [Updated January 28, 2011]
Date First Reported: November 2010
Primary Name Associated: Kathy Cheung
Description of Potential Fraud:
Between mid-November and late December 2010 we heard from several lawyers that received messages from the purported Kathy Cheung (ex is Terry Cheung). Update: Through January 2011 we heard from almost 50 lawyers that received messages from Cheung similar to the initial contact and subsequent messages below. Many of the lawyers we heard from are in Ontario, but we also heard from from lawyers in other provinces and across the U.S. In reply messages, the location of the ex-husband was personalized to the location of the lawyer (In the sample message below it is indicated the ex-husband had connections in Ontario.). It appears that hundreds if not thousands of lawyers have received this initial contact message over the last several months.
One of the lawyers that contacted us exchanged several emails with her and they appear below, along a copy of the Collaborative Family Law agreement allegedly prepared by lawyers and provided as evidence of the agreement by her ex-husband to pay.
The messages this fraudster sent are virtually identical to messages other lawyers have received recently on collaborative family law agreement scams from the purported Peggy Higashi and Beverly Kawashima.
From: Kathy Cheung [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Monday, December 06, 2010 2:49 PM
To: Lawyer email address
Subject: Greeting Counsel
Great day to you, my purpose for contacting your firm is to inquire for representation.
I have a premium settlement case that needs to be addressed and finalized as soon as possible. The need to gain your representation is to enforce the settlement agreed upon by my ex-spouse and me.
This agreement was base on $868,654.00; it has not been formally adhered to properly, by my ex-husband.
I say this because, as of today he still owes me a gross amount of $712,584.00 in settlement funds. These were supposed to be paid in full by August, 2010. I am in the process of retiring from my job as a sales associate and travel coordinator for the Korean Airways.
I am currently posted in South Korea and will be finishing my employment contract. I am in the process of settling down with my new spouse and kids, therefore collecting all owed funds are essential to us. I am unable to abandon my work to handle this issue back in America; therefore your counsel will be greatly welcomed and appreciated. Please inform me if you are able to take on this case.
I believe you understand what needs to be done, so before we proceed I will need to review your retainer agreement and also your fees so we can proceed. I await your earnest reply.
Dear Ms. Cheung,
Please tell me how you were referred to me. Second, please let me know the reason for non-payment. Third, what assets do you believe your ex-husband may have, particularly in California.
Good-day counsel and so many thanks for your response to my letter, as I am sorry for my late responses to your mail,just return from the hospital today. I guess the (+13hrs) time difference makes it kind of difficult to gauge the best time to reach you and vice versa.
I came across you contact when searching a good law firm in San Francisco, California and after reading your profile I was convince you would stand for me.
I would have the opportunity to talk to you sometime but (due to my hear pose a more difficult time on phone conversation) thought you should know what I am asking or looking for by email which enables me present/express my case better than telephone due to my hearing problem as this has been on for
close to two years. Really hope I could get my hearing healings back one of these days.
Well like I early side the agreement will be forwarded to you and if any question do not fail to ask.
Terry and I agreed under the Collaborative Law Agreement which I have attached for a one time cash settlement of $868,654.00. To his credit, he has paid me $156,070 but still owing $712,584.00 and has requested for more time over and over again.
The divorce is not final and the agreement was never put before a judge because Terry was very much insistent that he didn’t want to go to court and he constantly threatened that if we went to court, he will ensure that I went away with nothing because he had accumulated most of his assets before we got married and had paid a sizeable settlement after his first marriage. It was thought at the time that all parties would work towards meeting the terms of the agreement.
I too had agreed to the terms of the agreement which is well within what Terry can pay conveniently because I didn’t want the troubles of a long trial and so that we could part ways in the best way for all it was worth.
However Terry is been economical with the truth claiming a failed investment set him back financially. I however have information that this is not the case.
I will be pleased if we could settle this without the troubles of litigation and have advised my ex-husband that I am already in the process of retaining your services to achieve a final closure of this over-delayed payments.
Terry has recently relocated temporarily from California to Ontario (I think he is setting up a business there) but California remains his main base. We lived there together for 3 and 1/2 years and he still has property there and I believe both his personal and business accounts reside there. His address in Ontario is below:
288 Dufferin Avenue,
Canada N6A 4L9
607 241 7089 / 224 855 3546
Email: [email protected]
I will be pleased to provide further information on this matter on request. If you are happy to proceed, kindly send me a copy of your retainer and if the terms are acceptable I will sign so we can commence the process without delay.
Thank you very much and I hope we can work together to resolve this.
DOB: 21th June 1970
These emails are separately addressed to individual lawyers (in many cases these fraud blasts are BCCs and appear as addressed to “undisclosed recipients”). Note that the From email address is different than the email address listed in the body of the email.
If you have been targeted by this fraud, please forward any of the emails you have received to [email protected].
If you have been successfully duped, please immediately notify LAWPRO (instructions on how are here), as there may be a claim against you.
Further fraud prevention information and resources are available on the practicePRO Fraud page (www.practicepro.ca/fraud), 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.