Date First Reported: September 2013

Primary Name Associated: Rick Benson

Description of Potential Fraud:


Two Ontario lawyers notified us that they received an email from the purported Rick Benson looking to retain them with regards to a breach of a business loan agreement.

This is a classic bad cheque scam that presents as legal matter requiring the assistance of a lawyer. In this scam lawyers will be duped into wiring real funds from their trust accounts after depositing a fake cheque received as payment from the debtor (who is part of the fraud). See our Confirmed Fraud Page for more of an explanation of how these frauds work and other names associated with it , and our Fraud Fact Sheet for a list the red flags of a bogus legal matter that is really a fraud.

Here is the initial contact email sent by the fraudster to the lawyer’s intake site, and subsequent reply:


I need a Business/Commercial expert who can handle a
collection issue on my behalf
Rick Benson

Replying to the email brought this response:

Thank you so much for your email.

I am Mr Rick Benson U.S citizen currently based in UK.
I want you to help me receive outstanding debt from Mr Gregory Phillips on my behalf .He made commitment to pay the money

Debtor: Phillips Gregory
Amount: $488,000.00
Amount Paid:$60,000
Balance $428,000.00 plus 7.75%. annual interest.

The fund is part of the loan Phillips took from me .
The point of disagreement between the debtor and I is on the interest at 7.75%.
Due to the fact that he is ready to pay the principal with a downward negotiation of the interest gives me this assumption.
I am ready as it is now to negotiate a review of the interest. he assured me that he will pay a substantial part of the capital now then he will pay the balance install mentally as we may agree.
Find attached copy of Loan Contract,I have informed Mr Gregory Phillips of my decision to retain you as my representative in the collection
Please contact Greg via his Email [email protected] for more details about the situation
My best regard,
Rick Benson

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 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.