Collaborative family law agreement scam by Valerie (or Shima) Yashushi (or Yasushi)
Date First Reported: February 2012
Primary Name Associated: Valerie Yashushi
Description of Potential Fraud:
Over 50 lawyers in the U.S. and Canada have notified us that they’ve been contacted by the purported Valerie (or Shima) Yashushi (or Yasushi) with regards to a collaborative family law agreement dispute. This is a fraud we have seen before under several other names and similar scenarios. For details on how this fraud works and a full list of names attached to it see our Confirmed Fraud page.
Here is the initial email:
From: acs35 [email protected]
To: lawyer name
Sent: Thu, Feb 9, 2012 3:19 pm
Subject: Re: Contempt of Judgement
I want to know if your firm handles cases regarding contempt of judgement resulting from dissolution of marriage.
When a lawyer responded he received the following reply and documentation.
Thank you for your prompt response. Currently am living in South Korea for an assignment and Graham Yasushi (ex spouse) lives in Tucson, AZ. Due to the time difference (+13hrs EST) it is a little bit difficult to determine the best time to call you. We agreed under a Collaborative Law Agreement attached to this mail for a onetime cash settlement of $496,500.00USD to his credit, he has paid me $183,500.00USD but still owing $313.000.00USD. Hence, I need your counsel in order to collect the balance owed to me under the settlement agreement. The Final Decree of Divorce also attached makes reference to a Settlement Agreement being attached to and incorporated therein. He is aware of my intention to seek legal actions. I will be pleased to provide further information on this matter on request. I have already advised him I am planning on retaining your firm. Kindly send me your firm’s retainer fee agreement so that we can proceed. Thank you and have a pleasant day.
Address: 112-36 Daechi 5-dong, Apt 2, Gangnam-gu, Seoul 135-502, South Korea
Yashushi Divorce Decree
Yashushi Entitlement Agreement
Yashushi Collaborative Agreement
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.
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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.
February 21, 2012 at 4:33 pm, Greg James said:
I received the same email, except that the location for “Mr. Yasushi” was listed as Oklahoma City.
February 23, 2012 at 1:18 pm, Christine Blitzer said:
Same email with location of Rochester, NY
February 25, 2012 at 12:38 pm, Kate Fultz said:
Recieved the same initial inquiry e-mail
February 26, 2012 at 8:54 pm, Der Yang said:
Same email with location in St. Paul, MN, coincidentally, the city where I practice.
February 27, 2012 at 10:16 am, LJ Pendlebury said:
Received same scam; location changed to Alexandria VA. Strange that it should come to me, since I’m a mediator, not an attorney. Glad to know it’s phoney. I am listed on website for divorce services, maybe that’s how I was targeted.
February 27, 2012 at 6:54 pm, Casey DuBose said:
Got mine in Seattle and I’m a 3L.
February 29, 2012 at 5:03 pm, DKButler said:
I received the second email as the first contact today. I was suspicious particularly as it seemed to imply we had talked before but most of all because she claimed it was too hard to figure out when to call. As the others, the alleged husband lives in the town I practice in here in Southern California. I wonder if this woman’s passport was stolen.
March 01, 2012 at 1:09 pm, DCW said:
Just received this e-mail. It’s obviously a scam because instead of showing my name as the recipient, it says “undisclosed recipients.”
E-mail it was sent from is: [email protected]
March 02, 2012 at 2:17 pm, Pete said:
Received this same scam e-mail. At first thought it was legitimate. Then I did a Google search of her name, finding that this is a scam. The e-mail used was [email protected] Same e-mail, but indicated husband lives in my city in southern California.
March 05, 2012 at 7:36 pm, Ross Wilber said:
Same E-mail, ex-spouse purportedly in Lake Orion, Michigan.
March 14, 2012 at 12:13 pm, ATaylor said:
Same email; residence in New York State
March 14, 2012 at 6:41 pm, Sam Blibaum said:
I received the same emails in Towson, MD.
April 10, 2012 at 9:07 am, Richard Huffman said:
Just got one of these scam e-mails today. Text is identical. Our firm is in Del Mar, CA.
April 10, 2012 at 11:36 am, Bob Pratz said:
My, my…they must be busy little beavers. We received the same with the miscreant husband’s location as Glen Burnie, MD.
April 10, 2012 at 3:50 pm, Jon said:
Received an Identical email we are in Ohio.
April 12, 2012 at 9:18 am, Travis said:
I received the first email on April 11, 2012. This time the claim was that the husband lived in Brenham, Texas.
April 12, 2012 at 12:54 pm, Vincent Rollo said:
Same e-mail with the alleged ex-husband livng in Palm Beach Gardens, FL.
April 18, 2012 at 10:43 am, Troy Daniel said:
My message said Mr. Y is in northern Michigan. He sure gets around!
April 19, 2012 at 1:16 pm, Office Manager said:
We received the same e-mail today with the following information:
“Good day, I’m still awaiting your response regarding helping me with my divorce settlement with my ex-husband.
To look more legitimate, the e-mail was set up with cox.net which most people use in Gainesville, FL (local targeting)
April 23, 2012 at 9:40 am, TimLemieux said:
Hi Paul. The aim is to get you to accept a fake counterfeit check from the “ex”, deposit it in your trust account, and then wire the money to the fraudsters. When the bank discovers the check is fake, you’ll be left with a shortfall in your account.
April 25, 2012 at 9:08 pm, Betty said:
Received same scam email on April 23, 2012. I did not respond and received a follow up email requesting my decision on April 25, 2012. I am located in Orlando, FL.
April 26, 2012 at 2:15 pm, Erin said:
Same email, got it today, located in MA – I forwarded it to the fraudinfo email.
May 03, 2012 at 8:35 am, JJ Sandlin said:
I received the same inquiry and “she” requested my fee agreement (which would have my banking account information included). I sent “her” an email requesting more information, I searched and found a web site for “her” lawyer, Mr. Takashi Ikeda (with a sparkling CV) and attempted calling him in Japan. But no one ever answers the telephone, at his law office number. Apparently “Valerie” is still on assignment in South Korea, because that was what “she” claimed in her May 2, 2012 email to my law firm. Sure glad I Googled this matter…sure wish people would stop using the Internet for such nonsense. Sure wish I hadn’t spent so much time checking out this useless piece of shit.
May 16, 2012 at 11:23 am, Chris said:
Her ex has just moved to Yuba City, Callifornia. Turns out her friend’s ex-husband also lives in Yuba City and needs help too.
Starting to target investigators also.
May 21, 2012 at 10:49 am, Skip said:
The scam continues. Received the same email, though it was personalized as to location and time differences. Being a retired organized crime prosecutor who specialized in Asian O/C, I smelled shit. Damn if I wasn’t correct. Searched back through our system and determined we had replied, some months ago, to a general inquiry as to legal services (contempt/enforcement) we offer. Our response requested more information. Word to the wise: NEVER bite on an email solicitation without first asking for more specifics.
May 24, 2012 at 2:37 am, Ron Smith said:
I had the same thing, got a check payable to my trust account for $309,500.00 and when I told “Yasushi” that I got the check she told me to deposit it into my trust account and wire the funds to her (of course it must be by the end of the week)
The husband sent the check from Chipley, Florida
May 24, 2012 at 2:42 am, Ron Smith said:
I also got a letter from ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) that notified me that they intercepted a counterfeit check from overseas in that same $309.5K amount, they seized the check as it was in violation of several federal statutes and if I want the check I need to make a claim…just what I need to add to my already busy day
June 01, 2012 at 2:41 pm, TimLemieux said:
I’m not sure why you’re getting four emails.
If you tell me which was the original comment you made, I can try deleting it and see if that stops you being notified of future replies.
June 15, 2012 at 3:12 pm, Adrienne Thommes said:
I received the same inquiries and a cashier’s check. It looks really real, but I guess it is fake. I am not sure who I should notify, as it must be fake since you have all received the same inquiries.
June 15, 2012 at 4:32 pm, TimLemieux said:
You can safely destroy the check and ignore and future communication from the fraudsters, but if you get a chance to scan it you can email us a copy of the check and we’ll post it on the blog (after blacking out your name) as an example for other lawyers.