Ontario lawyer targeted by phone, not email, on a business loan collection scam using the name Zeng Chen
Date First Reported: January 2014
Primary Name Associated: Zeng Chen
Description of Potential Fraud:
An Ontario lawyer informed us that he was contacted by a Zeng Chen looking to retain him to collect on a loan. While it quickly became apparent that it was the usual bad-cheque fraud attempt, what is different in this case is that the fraudster called the lawyer, rather than initiate contact by email. He followed up with other calls and emails as the matter progressed. At first this lent the matter some legitimacy, but eventually several red flags appeared: signing a retainer but not actually paying it, the debtor agreeing to pay even before the lawyer did anything, and claiming to get the lawyers name by an unknown referral.
Here are some of the emails the lawyer received, as well as scans of the fake cheque and cover letter from the “debtor”.
Email from Zeng Chen ([email protected])
Thanks for your immediate respond. here is a signed copy of the retainer.
Note – the Debtor Mr Morris call my secretary yesterday after he was aware that my lawyer is in charge of this matter now.
that has scared him Alot. and he has call me more than 7 times. so i told him that if he does not want this matter to go to the court he has to PAY the full Balance of what he owe’s me plus any additional fee for my Lawyer.
he has Already Accept to Pay All the Funds to you by nest Week. my secretary has given him your information to contact you Direct not us. he said he will be sending $118,500.00 that will Include both the Total balance plus your Retainer Fee.
i will forward any additional information later today.
thank you for your cooperation
Zeng Global Trading Co.
Zeng Chen – President and Ceo
This email is from the “debtor”
Email from John Morris ([email protected])
i was instructed by Zeng Global Trading. to send their payment immediately to
The Law Office of XXXXXXXXXXXXX. which was done today by my Bank Officer Ms Monica Piers.
in the Amount $118,500.00cents ( ONE HUNDRED EIGHTEEN THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED CANADIAN DOLLARS ) Canadian Dollar Draft – RBC
we do not want this matter to get to the court. we do apologize for any inconvenient.
Note. Please NOTIFY Zeng Global Trading.
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.
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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.