Date First Reported: July 2011

Primary Name Associated: Kanako Yuji

Description of Potential Fraud:


A Nevada lawyer advised us today that he has received messages based on collaborative family law scam where the fraudster is using the name Kanako Yuji. The initial contact message suggests a payment is owed further to a collaborative law agreement and it is identical to those used in previous fraud attempts we have seen by: Zaira Hoshiko, Adrian Benavides, Anita Bell, Kathy Cheung, Peggy Higashi, Beverly Kawashima, and others. A full list is here.

Over the last several months, hundreds of lawyers from across North American have reported to us that they received various versions of this message. The reports to us are the tip of the iceberg – clearly thousands are being targeted. 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 a copy of the message that followed the initial contact, as well as an example of the “agreement”:

Date: Wed, 6 Jul 2011 18:31:59 +0800
From: [email protected]
Subject: Collaborative agreement attached
To: Lawyer Name

Dear Counsel

Confirming receipt of your mail ,I was Referred by Kenneth L. Hardison and He told me to send the documents to you. I am currently living in Tokyo,Japan and Mr. John Yuji live in Your jurisdiction, and the divorce decree is in your jurisdiction as well. I tried calling a couple of times and with the time difference(+13hrs EST) it is a little bit difficult to gauge the best time to reach you vice verse.

We agreed under this Collaborative Law Agreement for a one time cash settlement of $648,450.00 USD to his credit, he has paid me $44,000 USD but still owing $604,450.00 USD. He is aware of my intention to seek legal actions .The lawyer that helped me with the matter earlier is retired now.

I will be pleased to provide further information on this matter on request. I expect this to be a non-litigation matter. I have already advised him I am planning on retaining your firm.. Please send me an agreement/ retainer form so that we can proceed. Also send me the payment information of your firm just in case my ex-husband wants to make the full payment he owes payment without further delays or possible litigation.

Thank you and have a pleasant day.

Best Regards,

Mrs. Kanako Yuji

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.