Date First Reported: February 2013

Primary Name Associated: Edward Zimmerman

Description of Potential Fraud:

fraud-warning

An Ontario firm has reported that they were the target of a fraud involving the dissolution of a business partnership. The firm was contacted by phone by an Edward Zimmerman, who claimed to be ending a partnership with a Lorenzo Vitti. The firm was asked to prepare the paperwork and draft an agreement for a settlement of $475,000.

Contact information. ID and company names were provided, which later turned out to be either false or taken from real companies web pages. Zimmerman asked for banking information to wire retainer fees, but then a cheque (for much more than than was required) was deposited instead. The cheque bounced. This happened on two occasions.

Then, with no prior notice or instructions, $475,000 was deposited in the firms account. The firm waited to see if the funds would clear, which of course they didn’t. At that point contact from Zimmerman seemed to cease.

Unlike most fraud attempts we’ve seen that involve mass emails, this firm was contacted directly by phone. And there were numerous conversations about how the clients wanted to proceed in winding up the firm and how the funds were to be directed. In other words, the fruadsters put in a lot of time (and wasted a lot of the firm’s time) to make their matter seem legitimate. The scenario was also different from the usual debt/damages collection or divorce settlement frauds we’ve seen.

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.

Categories: Fraud Warnings