Date First Reported: August 2014

Primary Name Associated: Carl Hanne

Description of Potential Fraud:


A Michigan firm notified us that they received an email from the purported Carl Hanne (or John Higgs) of Line Tool & Machine Co.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 contact email sent by the fraudster to the lawyer:

From: “Line Tool & Machine CO.” [email protected]
Date: August 12, 2014 at 1:05:01 PM CDT
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Subject: (no subject)
Reply-To: [email protected]

Hello Counsel,
On behalf of my firm, I wish to inquire about your services and possible representation on a legal matter. For more information, please do let me know if your office is currently accepting new clients.
Carl T. Hanne Jr.
Line Tool & Machine CO.
6112 Rinke Avenue
Warren, MI 48091.

Replying to the email brought this response:

Thank you for the prompt response. I need your legal representation in a debt collection matter involving Holt Tool & Machine Co.2909 Middlefield Road Redwood City, CA 94063. They owe my firm for goods delivered in good condition. The value of the goods delivered is $198,750.00.(One Hundred and Ninety Eight Thousand, Seven Hundred Fifty Dollars). Due date for the payment was the 30th of July, 2014 as stipulated in the invoice.
Please, run a conflict check on my debtor and also state your hourly rate and retainer fee.
We will draw your attention to the relationship with our customer which has been a cordial one and we have had successful business relationship over the past few years, and it is in our position to maintain this relationship after collection of the outstanding sum owed to us.
Do not hesitate to call me if you have any questions.
I look forward to a timely response from you.
Carl T. Hanne Jr.
6112 Rinke Avenue
Warren, MI 48091
Direct Tel:(586) 270-0008

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.