Commercial debt collection scam using the name Edward Watwood
Date First Reported: June 2014
Primary Name Associated: Edward Watwood
Description of Potential Fraud:
A dozen lawyers from across Canada notified us that they received an email from the purported Edward Watwood looking to retain them with regards to a commercial debt collection.
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:
From: Edward Watwood [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 8:06 PM
Subject: Re: Legal Representation
I am inquiring about the possibility of your firm representing me in the
litigation of a breach of payment agreement. If this falls within the scope
of your practice get back to me so I can send the copies of our agreements
and more information.
Replying to the email brought this response:
Thanks for the prompt response,I am sorry for the late response but I only just saw your mail in my junk folder,I would have preferred to meet with you but my present location does not permit that to happen immediately, but should my presence be needed in court or otherwise then I’ll have to make that trip. Here is my number + 1-844-633-4860 FAX: 1-206-666-1748
In discussing the loan, please find attached a copy of the Loan agreement which I feel should explain my situation a lot better.Andrew is someone I have known for a few years and we have done business in the past without any issues.He was the husband of my late sister and he also introduced me to construction equipment sales and rental services.He came to me requesting a loan of $567,000.00 because he was in some financial difficulty and needed a bail out, and since I considered him family because he was always there for my sister before she died, I decided to loan him the money provided he repaid it back on or before the 12th of February 2014 which he agreed to but hasn’t done so.
I started requesting he pays what he owes me in August 2013 he paid back $117,000.00 in December 16th 2013 and has paid nothing more since. I have told him I need my money urgently but he keeps telling me that he will get the money to me soon.The painful part in this whole situation is, he claimed he doesn’t have the money to pay me now but he just made a payment for some construction equipment over what he owes me for his business.
I have my own business which has not been doing well lately and I sure can do with those funds right now. My health is failing and I have problems of my own and need all the money I can get. I’m tired of requesting for repayment and need you to make a demand and file a legal claim against him in court so a collection process can be initiated against him. I need him to understand how serious I am about getting my money back.I am prepared to pay a reasonable retainer or collection costs for this service as soon as I get an engagement letter from your firm.
I expect this to be a non-litigation collection from the borrower but I am prepared to litigate this matter if he is not ready to pay the balance owed on the loan agreement.Below is the name of the borrower for your conflicts check:
KABUSHIKIGAISYA SANS TRADING
8 DES VOEX RD,CENTRAL,HONG KONG
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.