Date First Reported: July 2013

Primary Name Associated: Nguyen Minh-Tam

Description of Potential Fraud:


An Ontario lawyer notified us that he received an email from the purported Nguyen Minh-Tam of Mid River Steel looking to retain them 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 and subsequent response sent by the fraudster to the lawyer:

Sent: Friday, July 12, 2013 19:17
Reply To: [email protected]
Subject: Legal Representation Needed

Dear Counsel,

Our firm is in search of a lawyer that handles civil and breach of contract issues. Please advice if your law firm handles such matters. Thank you.

Nguyen Minh-Tam
Director of International Operations
Tel: +61285201016
Email: [email protected]

Replying to the email brought this response:

Your response is highly appreciated. This is with regards to a breach of contract case.

We purchased steel products and paid for them as agreed. Upon receipt, we discovered the goods were not to specification which we brought to the notice of the suppliers. They sent their correspondence to verify the information and it was confirmed out of specification by them. They assured us they would make changes after we returned the supplies to them. We waited for about 35 days but the goods were not exchanged. Each time we contacted them, they made countless promises to us which they never met. This has made us seek legal assistance at this point.

We are willing to proceed as you may advise. We are also aware that you may need to perform a conflict search. I have added the details of the defaulting company.

Brothers Iron Ltd
83 Pelham Ave,
Toronto,ON M6N 1A5

Lastly, we would like to know a few things about your firm.

1. If you have handled this nature of case before?.
2. what strategies your bringing to the table to resolve this case as quickly as possible and also how long a case like this would take?.
3. How long you have been in practice?.
4. We would like to know if a case like this would end up in litigation or if you have an alternative plan?.
5. Is it compulsory we appear in person in court?.

We would be glad if you get back to us with a detailed email and response to the questions raised in this email as we wish to resolve this matter as quick as possible.


Nguyen Minh-Tam
Purchasing Manager.

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.