Separation agreement scam using the name Akemi Baker
Date First Reported: September 2013
Primary Name Associated: Akemi Baker
Description of Potential Fraud:
Twenty six lawyers in Ontario and the U.S. have notified us that they received an email from the purported Akemi Baker looking to retain them with regards to a collecting overdue payments resulting from a separation 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 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 email, subsequent replies and fake documentation sent by the fraudster to the lawyer:
From: Akemi Baker [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Wednesday, September 04, 2013 2:41 AM
Subject: Please advise
Pardon my mode of communication, I have gone through your profile and am pleased with your reputation. I would want you to help me file a contempt petition against my ex-spouse for failure to make court ordered payments of Child Support and Medical support.Please advise ASAP
Replying to the email brought this response:
Thank you very much for your prompt response to my email inquiry. I am Ms. Akemi Baker, I live in Japan, while my ex husband, Miller Baker, lives in Russell Springs, KY. It’s a little bit difficult to reach your office on phone as a result of time difference. Our Marriage was dissolved in Japan, but my ex husband, relocated to the United States. He is a citizen. We both agreed under a payment of family settlement incorporated, merged into and made part of the court decree for a Settlement. He has paid $188,600.00 from the total amount of $691,800.00 but still owing $503,200.00 and the stipulated time for completion of payment has long elapsed.
In the light of this, I had to contact your firm to request your legal services to enforce the court order compelling him to remit balance owned to me. Please find a copy of the terms of Separation Agreement and Decree of Divorce attached. I expect this to be resolved in a timely manner.
Finally, kindly send me a copy of your retainer agreement and if the terms are acceptable, I will sign so we can commence the process without delay.
Again, thank you for your anticipated cooperation and professionalism. God bless you.
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.