Date First Reported: October 2013

Primary Name Associated: Mitsuaki Minabe

Description of Potential Fraud:


A Florida lawyer has notified us that he received an email from the purported Mitsuaki Minabe of Hokuriku Electric Co looking to retain him with regards to a commercial debt collection.

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 to see other names associated with it. Our Fraud Fact Sheet lists 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 and the subsequent reply:

On Oct 4, 2013 5:48 PM, “MItsuaki Minabe” wrote:
Good day,

How are you? We have read from your profile that you handle Business law, my company will be glad working with you in resolving our present legal matter which involves litigation.

Thanks for your time, i will be glad hearing from you.

God bless you.

Mr. Minabe.

Replying to the email brought this reponse:

I am indeed grateful for your reply. This mail contains more information regarding my case.

I am Mr. MItsuaki Minabe , Vice President and Representative Director Hokuriku Electric Power Co.
I am seeking legal help from your firm for a breach of contract. Hokuriku Electric Power Co is a body that helps both public and private organizations/companies buy equipments like; electrical equipments, construction equipments etc.

Last year we ordered electrical machines worth $2,800,000.00 USD on the 2nd November, 2012 from a seller in your region who has proven to be a delinquent seller. Half Payment in the amount of $1,400.000.00 USD was made on 2nd November, 2012 and the other installment was agreed to be made immediately after the delivery of our purchases. As i write to you now, we have neither heard from or read from them, all effort made for refund has proven to be abortive this action has become disturbing and appears to us as a breach of contract, So we are soliciting that you help us handle this case thereby forcing the seller to comply with payment request.

Any other required information will be given to you as at when you need them to enable you do your proper litigation, but underneath is the delinquent seller’s Address.

Electric CO A Williams
9115 Lazy Lane
Tampa, FL 33614-1511

Please run a conflict check and send me your retainer agreement for my review.

I await your Urgent Response, Thanks and have a great day!

I will also give you a call later today.

Mr. MItsuaki Minabe
Vice President and Representative Director
Hokuriku Electric Power Co
15-1, Ushijima-cho
+81 764412811

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.