Commercial debt collection scam using the names Kasuko Mai and Sinochem Co Ltd
Date First Reported: August 2014
Primary Name Associated: Kasuko Mai
Description of Potential Fraud:
Three Ontario firms notified us that they received an email from the purported Kasuko Mai of Sinochem Co Ltd 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: “SINOCHEM CO LTD.” [email protected]
Date: 08/19/2014 09:45 AM
We need a lawyer who can help to retrieve debt owe to us by customers in your region. Please let us know if you can be of help or a referral could be helpful.Thanks
Contact [email protected] for more details..
Mr. Kasuko Mai (HR)
Replying to the email brought this response:
Thank you very much for your response, I have received your mail. Before we proceed i will like you to know more about this company and what this company is into.I am Mr.Kasuko Mai, the Human Resource Manager SINOCHEM CO LTD.; SINOCHEM CO LTD.; is a Chinese conglomerate primarily engaged in the production and trading of chemicals,fertilizer,exploration and production of oil. Its majority owned fertilizer subsidiary Sinocot is involved throughout the chain from production of the product and procurement on international markets to distribution and retail.
We seek your representation to collect monies in USA due to the language barrier we find problem dealing directly with our customers,to this end your legal advice and good reputation will be required to handle this service.
I hope to have informed you correctly and wait to hear from you soon, such that you can advise on the very next step to take in this endeavor. Upon your response and acceptance to assist us, i will forward to you Purchase Order and Invoice. Due to time difference we cannot determine the best time to call you.
Thanks In advance.
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.