Commercial equipment purchase scam using the name Chris Hammet (or Newton Jim)
Date First Reported: June 2014
Primary Name Associated: Chris Hammet
Description of Potential Fraud:
[Updated July 2014]
A dozen U.S. firms have notified us that they received an email from the purported Chris Hammet (or Newton Jim) 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 Frauds 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: Chris Hammet [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Thursday, June 19, 2014 3:36 PM
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 availability.
Replying to the email brought this response and fake documentation:
This is a follow up email in regards to my request for Like I explained to you on the phone yesterday, I am in the process of selling my Dredger to a company located in your state and one of their verbal terms of purchase is, I will have to provide a purchase agreement that protects them with their state laws and provide an attorney to monitor this transaction.
Find below the name of the proposed buyer for your conflict check. I want to know your hourly rate for preparing a purchase agreement, I have attached some necessary details of my dredger. Please let me know what time you will be available for a telephone conference on Monday, so we can discuss further. I await your prompt response.
Antrim Development Corp
124 N Division Street # B
Traverse City, MI 49684
And some have reported receiving phone calls from the fraudster. The number is 646-328-0728.
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.