Commercial debt collection scam using the names Tatsuo Higuchi and Otsuka Holdings
Date First Reported: September 2014
Primary Name Associated: Tatsuo Higuchi
Description of Potential Fraud:
An Ontario firm notified us that they received an email from the purported Tatsuo Higuchi and Otsuka Holdings looking to 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: Magdalene Beglau (mbeglau) [mailto:[email protected]] On Behalf Of Tatsuo Higuchi
Sent: September-15-14 5:25 AM
Subject: Otsuka Holdings Co. Ltd
We wish to contract you or your esteemed company to act as our company’s representative (intermediary between Otsuka Holdings Co., Limited and its customers in Canada and United States). If you agree to this affiliation, we will be very glad and compensations will be given as well as other benefits. Please advise if you are interested in partnering with us. No prior experience needed
President and Representative Director, CEO
Otsuka Holdings Co. Ltd
Replying to the email brought this response:
Thanks for your reply. I would like your firm to represent us with regards to a contract case, and i believe you will have to run a conflict check before you can decide to represent us. Below is the debtors information for a conflict check.
Auer Steel & Heating Supply Company
3050 Progress Rd, Madison, WI 53716, United States
Please get back to me so that i can furnish you with more information about this matter.
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.