Date First Reported: September 2012

Primary Name Associated: Martin Knott

Description of Potential Fraud:


Six Ontario lawyers notified us that they have received an email from the purported Martin Knott of TEC Electrical Motor Ltd regards to a commercial debt litigation scam. 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 the initial email:

From: TEC Electric Motor Ltd [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: August-13-12 4:48 AM
Subject: Dear Counsel

Dear Counsel

I want to know if your firm handles cases regarding contract dispute.
Please advice.

Martin Knott
Sales Manager
TEC Electric Motor Ltd

A lawyer who replied got this response:

Thanks for acknowledging my email,

The dispute is with Star Electric Motor Repair, with registered office at
26 Cawthra Ave,Toronto ON, M6N 5B3 Canada. They supplied us with
electric motors that failed to Meet UK safety standards.

The sales agreement states that if any purchase fails to meet safety
Standards, we should notify them within 28 days of delivery of the Goods
for a full refund or exchange. The agreement also states that the refund
or exchange will be processed within 14 days of receipt of the returned

We received these goods at our warehouse on the tuesday 24th Jan 2012. The Seller
was notified on the 1st of Feb 2012 that the goods have failed to meet
safety test. The goods was immediately returned back And delivery was
confirmed by the seller on the 5th of March 2012. A refund of
$450,875.70 was due on or before the 20th of April 2012, but till date we
have not received any money for the returned goods.

I have contacted “Steven Ramsay” of Star Electric Motor numerous Times
and my last conversation with him he offered to exchange the Goods. An
exchange is not acceptable as we no longer stock these Company products
for safety reasons.

It will be exceedingly accommodating if we obtain your standard retainer
agreement. This will allow our board directors decides on the
circumstances of the retainer in our next board meeting. Also once we have
reviewed your agreement I will forward you supporting documents i.e.,
proof of payment, sales agreement, so your firm can start working on this
case immediately.

If you require any more details, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Martin Knott
Sales Manager
Unit 1, Building 341,
Rushock Trading Estate,
Rushock, Droitwich,
Worcestershire, WR9 ONR.
United Kingdom
Tel: +44(0)770 009 2665
+44(0)770 008 8924
Fax: +44(0)161 241 5411

The lawyer sent his standard retainer form, which was returned signed:

We are very sorry for the late in sending you the signed retainer, it has been signed since 28th August, i want to let you that the board directors of TEC ELECTRIC MOTOR LTD are pleased with the terms of your retainer agreement and are happy to retain the services of your firm to assist us in resolving this dispute,Please find attached signed retainer.

We require you to send us the name and mailing address payment for your retainer will be made out on so we can start making agreement to send your fee.
Meanwhile we have notified our debtor about the possibility of litigation to their notice to inform them that we have a law firm in the states that is going to handle the case, and also stated that we need our funds on or before 7 days.

However, we do not intend to introduce any legal pressure unless the deadline we gave them has been breached. We hope you understand our position as we intend to introduce litigation as a last resort.

Please confirm the name and address payment is to be made out on.

Thank you for your assistance in this matter, We look forward to working with you to resolve this dispute.

An email then arrived from the purported debtor:

Dear Sir,
Please be advised that we are remitting payment of monies owed to TEC Electric Motors in the amount of $350,000.00 next week. Kindly advise your client.
Mark Anderson
Star Electric Motor Repair

A cheque and covering letter than arrived at the lawyers office:

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 Sheet More 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.