Commercial debt collection scam using the names Fumio Okazaki and Leejing Chemicals
Date First Reported: September 2014
Primary Name Associated: Fumio Okazaki
Description of Potential Fraud:
A New York firm notified us that they received an email from the purported Fumio Okazaki of Leejing Chemicals 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 via LinkedIn sent by the fraudster to the lawyer:
On Wed September 3 2014, Fumio O. wrote:
Do you handle Business Litigation / breach of contract ? If you do let me know please .
Replying to the LinkdedIn contact brought this response by email:
Thanks for the response to my email. We were contacted by a regional sales agent of SAFT-T-PAK INC who currently resides in your city and we were given a list of goods they wanted . We responded letting them know we had what they wanted and gave them our selling price. We agreed to deal with them and signed a contract. The terms of the contract required we pay a 50% down payment before we deliver the goods to them and also the balance to be paid after delivery .
However , after delivery , we have not received the balance payment . We tried to resolve this issue without getting any external party involved. Yet they have refused to see things our way and do business as we agreed . We contacted the head office of SAFT-T-PAK INC and we were told to deal directly with the regional agent we have been in contact with .
Find below details of the regional sales agent for your conflict check.
New York, New York Area Sales/Procurement Agent
SAFT-T-PAK INC .
We have come to understand that the regional sales agent and the company will not take us seriously and that is why we have chosen to fight this matter legally. We are sick and tired of writing emails that are taken for granted . We are running a business here and do countless transactions all over the world which involves money . We have to pay our staff, maintain the stability of our company and also meet up with demands of other clients. How are we supposed to do that with setbacks like this. We have to make profit to keep our business running. This is really heart breaking. What we require from you is this:
A: Review the documents attached to this email and let us know our weaknesses and how much chance we stand against Andrew Smith/SAFT-T-PAK INC .?
B: Let us know how long you think this case will take to be resolved.?
C: When it comes to court hearing , will i need to appear in person.?
D: We are ready to fight to get this money back even if it means involving litigation. So please let us know your fees and terms of your representation.
E: What would be your strategy
I know there is a lawyer-client retainer fee that may be paid in the process of the exercise, pending your conditions. Kindly, send me an engagement letter so that we can proceed with this issue . I want to also let you know that I am open to either an hourly or contingency fee basis. Please advice which works better for you.
If you decide not to take this case let us know if you have referral .
We appreciate your time and effort and will be expecting a response from you soonest.
2-56-8 Sumiyoshi-Minamimachi. Higashinada-ku, Kobe, 6580041 JAPAN
Phone : 0-78-802-2607 / Fax : 0-78-802-2607
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.
September 21, 2014 at 8:04 pm, JL Handzlik said:
I received the same email from “Fumio Okazaki” of “Leejing Chemicals.” Aside from being an unsolicited request by email, it seemed suspicious for a couple other reasons. There is a company named “SAF-T-PAK INC.” However, I was unable to locate anything for “SAFT-T-PAK INC.” Okazaki also sent two attachments relating to Leejing’s purported transaction with “SAFT-T-PAK INC,” a contract and confirmation of a wire transfer received by Leejing. The signature of the “SAFT-T-PAK” representative on the contract appears to have been pasted-in. The wire transfer confirmation supposedly from US Bank refers to its customer as “SAFT-T-PAK.”
Aside from this, the scheme seems amateurish, at best. Assuming a lawyer went along with it and actually received a settlement check from “SAFT-T-PAK,” wouldn’t he/she wait for the check to clear, before forwarding funds to Leejing? Wouldn’t the lawyer’s bank require that the funds be collected before authorizing a wire transfer drawn against them? Even assuming the funds represented by the SAFT-T-PAK check were comingled with other client funds in the lawyer’s trust account, it seems to me these basic requirements would foil the scheme.
September 22, 2014 at 9:59 am, TimLemieux said:
The fraudsters try to pressure the lawyer into releasing the funds quickly, and often the bank makes the money available right away.
September 23, 2014 at 10:43 pm, Mark D said:
I got the same email, through linkedin, it sounded weird, read the contract. It is not a contract that would be used for a deal of $4m. 30 seconds on google and it was easy to see saft t pak and leejing were fraud sites.
Can not believe a lawyer who has been around for more than 20 minutes would fall for it, but who knows,
September 25, 2014 at 8:53 am, BT said:
I received this same email from someone purporting to be named Cheng Chang. The key tip-off for me was that the email says “your city.” Also, the U.S. regional sales agent was represented as “William Smith,” about the most common name I could think to create.
October 11, 2014 at 3:46 pm, Heather W said:
I just received a Linkedin message from Arata Ito claiming to be from Leejing Chemical. I immediately searched the company name before responding. I have to say I am surprised any attorney would just blindly take on a corporate client without doing at least a google search.
October 27, 2014 at 6:29 pm, james b said:
I wrote Cheng Chang back and told him to pay my retainer thru an online credit card processing company. Two weeks later I received the most beautiful check payable to my order for $ 399,800.00. I brought it home to the wife and kids…Yeah, I’m a hero….just another day in the life Sam Spade, Solo Pracitioner…might frame it…hang it under a framed generic article about vindicating justice…bada bing instant adoration…Its important to keep humble during these events, as I explained to the kids…