Business debt collection scam by Catherine Brueggemann
Date First Reported: May 2013
Primary Name Associated: Catherine Brueggemann
Description of Potential Fraud:
A lawyer in Pennsylvania and one in Michigan have notified us that they received an email from the purported Catherine Brueggemann looking to retain them with regards to a breach of a business loan agreement. This is similar to other frauds of this kind we have seen. For a full description of how this fraud works and to see other names attached to it, see our Confirmed Fraud page that deals with business loan frauds.
Here is the initial email:
From: Catherine Brueggemann [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2013 10:17 AM
Subject: Re:Legal Representative
I am in need of your legal assistance regarding a breach of loan agreement
I provided a friend of mine in the amount of $750,000. He needed this loan
to complete an ongoing project he was handling in January 2011. He now
resides in your jurisdiction and the loan was for 24 months with interest
accrued at the rate of 8.5%. The capital and interest were supposed to be
paid on January, 2013 but he has only paid $50,000.
Please let me know if this falls within the scope of your practice, so
that I can provide you with the loan documents and any further information
you need to know.
A lawyer that replied got this response and fake documentation:
Good day to you and thanks for responding to my email.
My name is Catherine Brueggemann and my address is 12665 McCoys Fork Road, Walton, KY 41094. On January 10th, 2011, I lend Brian Smith whom now resides in your jurisdiction the sum of $750.000.00 with 8.5% interest on two years fixed term and to pay back January 10th, 2013. Hey had only paid me $50,000 but still owing $700,000.
We both used to live here in Kentucky at the time the loan was made, but He had now relocated to your jurisdiction (Bloomfield Hills Area). I was advised to seek legal assistance in my borrower new jurisdiction which is why I contacted you to act as my counsel in retrieving these funds. There has not been any attorney working on this case. Different payment dates have been promised and I still have not received anything. My last contact with my Borrower, I was told I would receive payment not later than Mid March 2013 and till now, nothing has been paid.
Kindly let me know what your fees would be in order for me to inform Mr. Smith to expect contact from you as you have been authorized to act on my behalf. On your approval, I would like to forward your details to him so He knows a law firm is representing me and, I could sue for breach of agreement if He does not oblige to the terms of the loan agreement. I would like to give him this last chance to fulfill his obligations before we start legal proceeding if need be.
Please do get back to me so I can furnish you with the required details to contact my borrower on my behalf as I know He respect the law and wouldn’t want to be litigated. Before we proceed, kindly forward your fee/retainer agreement for my review and if satisfied with terms and conditions upon receipt; I shall make immediate provision for the fee for you to begin work.
Thank you for your anticipated co-operation and understanding. Contact me should you require more information. I have attached here a copy of the Loan Agreement Promissory Note and proof of partial payment He made for your peruse. My borrower’s name is Brian Smith.
Brueggemann Promissory Note Loan Agreement. CMI
Brueggemann Proof of Partial Payment
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.
July 01, 2013 at 11:32 am, David E Greenberg said:
I’ve received the identical correspondence to request collection from Brian Smith. Same amounts etc. However, the supposed claimant is a Christina Freitag, who is using the email address: [email protected] She claims to reside at 110 Janalee Drive, Henderson KY 42420. When pressed for her phone number she gave me a Southern Ontario cell phone number of 289-892-4300 – However, that number rings without answer and no voicemail option.
August 14, 2013 at 1:48 pm, Kevin said:
Following David E. Greenberg’s post on this subject, I’ve received identical correspondence. The target is Christopher Williams. The supposed claimant is Kristen Erdman of 663 Artic Ave., Oak Grove, KY, same Ontario telephone number. All of it a fiction.
August 20, 2013 at 12:15 pm, Steve Schmidt said:
Thanks for the heads-up. I got the same email as Kevin above. Quite convincing until she had the same spelling mistakes as your sample above for Catherine Brueggemann. She even offered to call me (I don’t engage clients unless I have spoken with them first), after her phone was reconnected after she was done with a “reconstruction contract.” I guess they could probably fake that too.
Thanks for offering this service.
September 13, 2013 at 9:11 am, Rebecca Falvo said:
I got the exact same email from a different name- Sherri L. Hickman. The supposed ex is Anthony Johnson. I asked for a phone number and got the same listed above, which was “off since I’m on a reconstruction contract.”
September 18, 2013 at 5:23 am, Szilvia Drimal said:
I am a Hungarian lawyer and even me got the same mail yesterday. The lender is Alaina McCormick (Taylor Blvd., Louisville, KY 40215) ([email protected]), the borrower is Anthony Johnson who now lives in Budapest (Hungary). All the attached documents are the same, even the signatures of the witnesses are the same, although their printed names are different.
Thank you for the above information that helped me to find out that it is a fraud.
September 30, 2013 at 5:21 pm, Federico said:
I got the same mail as Szilvia, except the same borrower this time is living in Arezzo, Italy. Unfortunately I discovered this site just after I entered in business contact with the alleged Lender. I hope it is not too late to avoid further problems.
Thank you so much anyway for your initiative.
May 03, 2017 at 10:18 am, Heather Schank said:
I received the same email, except the creditor is Jeffrey Smith at [email protected]
May 18, 2017 at 9:09 am, Matthew said:
I’m a California lawyer, and I received the same suspicious email from Jeffrey Smith at
July 14, 2017 at 10:01 am, Peng said:
I am a Nebraska lawyer. I wonder what the scammer tries to achieve. Obviously, we are not going to send them the money. Is the scammer trying to hack into our computers?