Commercial debt collection scam using the names Motonori Toshinari and Kaga Electronics
Date First Reported: December 2014
Primary Name Associated: Motonori Toshinari
Description of Potential Fraud:
A California firm notified us that they received an email from the purported Motonori Toshinari of Kaga Electronics 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 from the fraudster to the lawyer:
From: Kaga Electronics Co., Ltd [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Saturday, December 06, 2014 3:43 PM
Subject: Dear Counsel
I want to inquire if your firm handles Purchase transactions and agreements rather help me to draft a purchase agreement or A referral will be welcome if this is not your area of practice. Kindly advise regarding this issue as soon as possible.
Mr. Motonori Toshinari
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.
What can you do to help put a stop to the fraud attempt? You can simply stop replying to the fraudster’s emails or inform them that you suspect fraud and will not act on the matter (or will take no further actions on the matter). You can report the fraudsters email addresses to the email hosting company. If you have a fraudulent cheque you can destroy it or send it to the fraud department of the financial institution, which may wish to see it. In Canada, you can report the fraud to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
We are often asked if it is worthwhile to report the fraud attempt to the police in the hopes of helping catch the fraudsters. You can certainly report the fraud to your local or federal law enforcement agencies, but unfortunately it is often difficult, expensive and time consuming for them to attempt to shut down these online fraud perpetrators (though there are some successes).
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.
April 17, 2015 at 3:05 pm, Tom said:
This crook seems to have changed his scam quite a bit — probably to get the attention of lawyers who handle more sophisticated matters than debt collection (no offense to our collection brothers and sisters). Mine was a merger in which Kaga Electronics was going to purchase and merge into a NJ Company with the initials EC. If EC is a fake company, this is the most sophisticated faked entity I have ever seen. It has a beautiful and highly technical website, real patents registered in the CEO’s name and licensed to the corporation and he’s scammed D&B into thinking the CEO is a real person.
However, the Kaga website is very, very legitimate looking also. I guess it’s real too but its HQ is in Tokyo, not Hong Kong. It has a HK office but the addresses do not match. Also, he doesn’t even spell his email address correctly. Speaking of which, I can’t believe that either 1) no lawyer has reported the scam to Google to close his email in the 16 months this post has been up??? or 2) Google doesn’t care (even more unbelievable, if only to avoid dilution of its brand name). Maybe he is “spoofing” Gmail. In any case, I am reporting him/it. I realize that it may be better to just leave his email so it can be quickly Googled but his name seems constant to serve that purpose.
Be careful out there: they didn’t teach us this in law school.
April 22, 2015 at 7:03 pm, Angela said:
I received an email from him as well. He indicated that he was attempting to purchase a company and merge it. The company he listed that he is attempting to buy is a Nevada company that has been active for almost 20 years, so seemed kind of legit. He asked for a retainer, which I was tempted to send. If he sends a check, I’m covered, but glad I researched it first.
May 25, 2015 at 10:23 am, Daniel said:
I’ve received the same e-mail. Thanks for your help.