Commercial debt collection scam using the names Andrew Steeles and G C Supplies UK Ltd
Date First Reported: May 2014
Primary Name Associated: Andrew Steeles
Description of Potential Fraud:
Seven lawyers in the U.S. have notified us that they received an email from the purported Andrew Steeles of G C Supplies UK Ltd looking to retain them with regards to a breach of a business loan 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 other names associated with it , and our Fraud Fact Sheet for a list 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: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]] On Behalf Of Andrew Steeles
Sent: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 6:59 AM
Subject: legal help needed
Looking for a good breach of contract lawyer to help sue a client, identify and eliminate the risks and dangers of our present situation, and help us understand our options and opportunities
Let us know if this falls within your practice.
Replying to the email brought this response:
We appreciate you giving us a chance to discuss our case. First, we placed an order of some goods from Ferguson Enterprises, Inc. They gave us a price that our company was very comfortable with. We agreed to deal with them, We signed their sales contract and complied with all their terms. They requested we pay half of the total cost of goods and the other half when they have delivered. We did just as requested and till date not even one item was delivered. We reminded them that the time frame for delivery has elapsed, we also made them aware that we have run out of patience and want our money refunded. Till date, we have neither gotten any goods nor received our full money. We tried to be reasonable and resolve this issue amicably but our entire plea has landed on deaf ears. We have decided to put an end to it finally. We know we cannot do this alone again, which is why we need a reputable attorney like you to step in. Find below details of supplier for your conflict check.
Ferguson Enterprises, Inc
5722 49th Street
Maspeth, NY 11101
We want every dollar owed to our company refunded. They have taken us for granted and that we can`t take anymore. We are ready to proceed with litigation if the need should arise. Let us know the best way to have this issue tackled and we would comply as long as we get results. The loss this failed transaction has caused our company has become unbearable. we do countless transactions on a daily basis all over the world, we have demands of clients to meet , maintain the stability of our company and staff. This cannot be achieved if we fold our arms and accept losses like this. If we do, then in no time we will be ran out of business by our contenders. All relating documents are attached. We have raised some concerns and would like you to respond in detail in your next email.
Are they any foibles you see in this case? when the time comes for hearing, the distance gives us some concern. How can that be handled. ? How long have you practiced? How much is you fee. ? What should we expect from you. ? Any guarantees. ? If bankruptcy is filed what is our defense. ?
Kindly have your representation agreement sent for our perusal or please provide us with a referral if you cannot take our case.
A quick response would be most appreciated.
G C Supplies UK Ltd
Units 13a – 15a Reliance Trading Estate
Reliance Street Newton Heath
Manchester M40 3ET United Kingdom
Tel:+44 0161 818 4884
Fax:+44 0161 210 2948
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. Instructions on how to report a claim are here.
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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.
May 13, 2014 at 4:25 pm, Ray Beckerman said:
I received an “Andrew Steeles” inquiry through an online advertising agency.
July 17, 2014 at 3:38 pm, Andrew Steeles said:
I was mortified to read this article. I am the “real” Andrew Steeles of G.C.Supplies UK Limited. I am more than aware of this scam as I have received at least 100 enquiries from lawyers and attorneys based in the USA asking if this is real or not, some have gone as far to send me their invoice for the work they have carried out in relation to the matter. Not only have the fraudsters tarnished the good name of our company, that has been trading for 80 years incidently, but also my name and my co-directors (which I will not name as the article does not mention them). I would like to point out that every effort has been made by myself and the company to ensure that every individual that contacted us has received a reply informing them that it is a scam, we have reported it to the Fraud Investigation Bureau based in London, we have corresponded with Ferguson Group (who have of course involved the FBI) and we are more than willing to help catch the individuals involved who obviously have nothing better to do than prey on innocent, hard working people. I would be very pleased if you would post my reply on your website so that I at least get the opportunity to put our side of the story on record.
Many thanks and best regards
The now “infamous” Andrew Steeles