Date First Reported: November 2011

Primary Name Associated: Richard Otiz

Description of Potential Fraud:


Four lawyers in the U.S. have received emails from the purported Richard Otiz (or Richard O. Steve) with regards to a commercial debt litigation scam. Its likely Ontario lawyers will start receiving them soon. For examples of other names attached to this kind of fraud see our Confirmed Fraud Page. For an explanation of how this fraud works see our Fraud Fact Sheet.

Here is an example of the message:

From: Richard Otiz [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 8:45 AM
To: lawyer name
Subject: Legal question

I am Richard Otiz, I entered into a contract with one Mr. Warren Roberts to
supply me with Car carrier trucks, and as I write the Trucks purchased are
yet to be delivered as agreed and its been over 12 months. I have made the payment for them in full and he is yet to fulfill his obligations as agreed,
and I need the contract enforced. I have the contract papers/invoice to be
provided on your request. Kindly get back to be to let me know if you can be of assistance.

A lawyer who responded got this reply:

Thanks for your e-mail message. I met Mr. Warren Robert through a business associate (Mr. Omuar Hareem) who happens to be into haulage and truck sales as well. Mr. Hareem represented that his last trucks were bought and delivered by Mr. Robert which was why I considered doing business with him.

On Tuesday August 24, 2010 after we have made the necessary arrangements, I wired him $414,800.00. Then on Tuesday August 31, 2010, we signed the contract in Farmington Hills, MI, where Mr. Roberts does business having confirmed the receipt of payment. Copies of the wire transfer receipt and and contract agreement are attached.

It was agreed that trucks will be shipped within two months after the agreement was duly executed, and the shipping documents sent to me to enable me clear the trucks from the port but this is the 13 month and I have yet to receive the said documents or the trucks.

Over the past months, I have made efforts to get him to honor the agreement, but all he has offered is one promise after the other. I just informed him of my intentions to seek legal action.

He has failed to make progress, thereby endangering the performance of our
agreement. He has failed to provide adequate assurance of future performance of this contract and I need the contract enforced and all the
expenses I incurred paid back.

Since the agreement clearly states that where Mr. Warren Roberts fails to comply with any of the terms of the agreement, and fails to supply the trucks paid for, I shall be entitled to terminate the contract for default.

Let me know the appropriate steps to take so as to begin the process and your terms of engagement.

Mr. Richard Otiz.
11 Jalan Ampang,

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.