Separation agreement scam using the name Marina Kitaya (or Marina Chang)
Date First Reported: November 2013
Primary Name Associated: Marina Kitaya
Description of Potential Fraud:
[Updated March 2014]
Fifteen lawyers in Ontario and the U.S. have advised us that they received an email from the purported Marina Kitaya (or Marina Chang) 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 sent by the fraudster to the lawyer, subsequent response and fake documentation:
From: Marina Kitaya [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: November-24-13 2:54 PM
Subject: Dear Counsel,
I wish to file a case against my ex-husband ( Andre Kitaya ) for
failure to complete
court ordered payments of Child Support, Spousal Support, Equitable
distribution and Medical support in our separation agreement. Kindly
respond to confirm your readiness to assist.
I am earnestly waiting for your reply.
Marina Kitaya .
Replying to the email brought this response:
Thank you very much. I do believe that a reputable law firm like ( FIRM NAME) will be highly appreciated to handle this matter,and i am convince that we are going to collect this funds in no distance time.Our last conversation for letting him know am using your firm to pusue my settlement, he stated he knew about your firm.
I will be happy to have the agreement form review and sign to get my funds back to me from my ex-husband, he has showed me that he is not ready to complete my funds anytime soon. In the agreement Andre was will to paid $950,500.00 and he only paid $251,500.00 . I will make arrangement to pay the initiate require legal fees. I am really looking forward to your service to collect these funds from him as soon as we can.Please let me know if you got the attachment?
I look forward hearing from you soon,
2-1-2 Osaki, Shinagawa-Ku Tokyo
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.