Commercial equipment purchase scam using the name Bobby Hale
Date First Reported: May 2014
Primary Name Associated: Bobby Hale
Description of Potential Fraud:
[Updated Aug 2014]
Thirty lawyers in Canada and the U.S. have notified us that they received an email from the purported Kiyoyuki Suzuki (or Steven Brown) looking to retain them with regards to making a large commercial purchase.
This is a 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 purchaser (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: [email protected]
Date: 05/10/2014 04:17 PM
Subject: Urgent Purchase Transaction
I want to inquire if your firm handles Purchase transactions and agreements. A referral will be welcomed if this is not your area of practice and also provide me with your contact number and time of availabilty. Email: [email protected]
Replying to the email brought this response:
Thank you for your prompt response to my email.I am in the process of selling my Dredger to a company located in your state and one of their terms requires me to provide a purchase agreement that protects both parties and also provide an attorney to monitor this transaction in their own state.
Find below the name of the proposed buyer for your conflict check. What is your hourly rate for preparing a purchase agreement? I have attached some necessary details of the dredger, I will appreciate if you let me know soonest about your capability of handling this matter. Do let me know what time you will be available for a telephone conference anytime today so we can discuss further. I await your prompt response.
1301 Grandview Avenue # 200
Pittsburgh, PA 152114200
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.
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.
June 17, 2014 at 8:32 pm, Mark Raskoff said:
We received this same e-mail, but in the name of Chris Hammet. Capitalization was identical. (From California USA)
June 26, 2014 at 1:46 pm, Todd Schwartz said:
We received same email at my Oregon based law firm. Scammer (Bobby Hale) engaged our firm to sell a $3.1mm commercial vessel (dredger). “Buyer” sent my law firm fake cashiers check from Chase for $560,000. Hale calls following dale and cancels sale request $560,000 be wired back to buyer. Suspicious, due to a number of previous red flags, we Googled “Bobby Hale” and found your web page. Thank you so much!
Subsequently determined cashiers check was fake.
Interestingly, we never received wire instructions from buyer. Hopefully, Bobby Hale has been thrown in jail.
July 15, 2014 at 10:12 am, Mark Hedrick said:
I have received exactly the same inquiry for legal work. Same address and same Bobby Hale and same sale of equipment. I googled it and immediately found your site. Thanks for the warning. We have this regularly so are alert to it.
July 28, 2014 at 3:37 pm, Dan Kaskel said:
Our firm in FL received the same inquiry on July 25th.
August 01, 2014 at 11:48 am, Allan Garro said:
I just received the same inquiry for legal services. My lawfirm is located in Costa Rica. The email came from Arianna Reinstrom who identified herself as Bobby Hale’s secretary email address [email protected]
I googled Bobby Hale and found this website thanks a lot!
August 01, 2014 at 12:18 pm, Mike Smith said:
Just got the same e-mail here in CA.
August 04, 2014 at 12:55 pm, Lee said:
Received a phone call several days ago from a Bobby Hale with a pronounced southern accent from a referral from another attorney who received this inquiry. Sent “Mr. Hale” an email with firm contact information and never heard back until today with crude purchase order requiring a purchase agreement for a dredge for $5.1 million.
Have email tracking app which tracks email opens and several were opened in both Canada and Nigeria so already knew the MO
August 04, 2014 at 2:14 pm, Jacquelyn Yates said:
A lawyer friend had her mail hacked some months ago, apparently (Bobby Hale) was one who paid for her list, because my email isn’t widely circulated. I reported the scam to the email provider.
August 18, 2014 at 1:52 pm, Allan Garro said:
Warning now a very similar message is being sent under the name of Jake Clayworth with the following text:
“I want to inquire if your firm handles breach of contract cases. A referral will be welcomed if this is not your area of practice.”