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]
To: Recipients
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]


Bobby Hale.

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.


Sylvan Energy
1301 Grandview Avenue # 200
Pittsburgh, PA 152114200


Bobby Hale

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.