Commercial debt collection scam using the names Patrick Zerhouni and Diamyd Medical AB
Date First Reported: June 2014
Primary Name Associated: Patrick Zerhouni
Description of Potential Fraud:
An Ontario firm notified us that they received an email from the purported Patrick Zerhouni of Diamyd Medical AB 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: Partrick Zerhouni [email protected]
Please respond to [email protected]
We were referred to your firm by American Bar Association. We are inquiring for
an Attorney who specializes in Breach of Contract or Litigation.
Chief Financial Officer
Diamyd Medical AB
Kungsgatan 29, SE-111 56
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.
July 07, 2014 at 10:10 am, Lisa said:
I received this exact message this morning (7-7-14) which was sent Friday @ 1:19AM. I started to reply, inquiring as to further information to be able to determine whether there was a conflict of interest or a jurisdictional issue when I noticed the email address in the “TO” box had changed from [email protected] to [email protected] I had already suspected this was a fraudulent email, but because we recently had a client from Sweden, I thought she may have referred someone to us. That is when I entered the email address in Google and your page was the first result. Thank you for posting.