Collaborative family law agreement scam by Crystal Masaru [updated September 2011]
Date First Reported: August 2011
Primary Name Associated: Crystal Masaru
Description of Potential Fraud:
Lawyers from Ontario and across the U.S. have informed us they have received emails that look like the collaborative family law agreement scam we’ve seen many times, but with a new name: Crystal Masaru. For the full list of the names attached to this scam see our Confirmed Fraud page
As in others, the initial contact message suggests a payment is owed further to a collaborative law agreement. These fraudsters will actively respond to communications, sign retainer agreements (but not pay retainers as promised), provided identity documents and other supporting documentation, including copies of the collaborative agreement, a payment agreement and ultimately a fake cheque or bank draft. See the above posts for samples of these documents. One Ontario lawyer was successfully duped by this fraud. For a more detailed description on how these bad cheque scams work see this earlier AvoidAClaim post.
Here is the message:
I am contacting you for legal settlement agreement between me and my ex.
I need your counsel for litigation,collection or enforcement of this agreement.
And here are some supporting documents received by one lawyer:
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 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.