Commercial debt collection scam using the names Yoshihisa Suzuki and Nanaboshi Electric
Date First Reported: September 2013
Primary Name Associated: Yoshihisa Suzuki
Description of Potential Fraud:
[Updated August 2014]
Eight lawyers in Canada and the U.S. have notified us that they received an email from the purported Yoshihisa Suzuki of Nanaboshi Electric 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:
From: Nanaboshi Electric Mfg.Co, Ltd. [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 3:55 PM
Subject: Re: Hello
We are Electric Equipments Manufacturing Company based in Japan. We have a collection matter in your area that needs an urgent attention. If you are interested / available to handle this matter, let us know and we will send you complete information of our debtor to run your conflict check and let us know if you can represent our company on this matter.
Nanaboshi Electric Mfg.Co, Ltd.
1-49-15 Kamitakada Nakano-ku
Tokyo 164-0002 Japan
Replying to the email brought this response:
Thanks for your respond, the debt owe $145,800.00 Please see attachment for Demand Letters, invoice and the agreement for your review. Our debtorâ€™s information is below for you to run a conflict check on them.
Comtel Group Inc
51 Sawyer Road
Waltham, MA 02453
Please advise us on your retainer fees for collection and send us retainer agreement (engagement letter). We shall sign the agreement and forward it back to your firm. The provisions of your written attorney-client retainer agreement will give you control over our business relationship with your law firm
We look forward to hear from you.
A recent variation of the scam involves a “referral” from another supposed lawyer:
I got your contact details from your local attorney listing.
I am sending this email as a mutual introduction (potential
representation) of an old client of mine.My old client Mr Yoshihisa
Suzuki is the President of Nanaboshi Electric Mfg,LTD Tokyo.
Nanaboshi Electric Mfg,LTD. is a metal,electrical and wire cable trading
company in Tokyo Japan.
Nanaboshi Electric Mfg,LTD has a claim against a company that is registered
in your State for a breach of contract.I can not handle this matter as i
am not licensed to practice in your in the United States.
I represented this company in a different matter here in Belgium some
time ago.This matter is in your jurisdiction/region and that is why am
referring him to you.If you are interested in reviewing the details of his
claim,then i would forward your contact information to him so that
he can contact you directly.He would be glad to furnish you
with the details about his claim.
Rue Henri Wafelaerts 31,
Directline:+32 465 916 907
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.