Separation agreement scam using the name Iberia Russell
Date First Reported: January 2014
Primary Name Associated: Iberia Russell
Description of Potential Fraud:
An Ontario firm notified us that they received an email from the purported Iberia Russell looking to retain them with regards to a collecting overdue payments resulting from a separation agreement.
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 sent by the fraudster to the lawyer:
From: Iberia Maria Russell [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: January-15-14 3:35 PM
Subject: Re: Inquiry
Dear Prospective Counsel,
My name is Iberia Maria Russell. I am contacting your law firm in regards to a divorce
settlement with my ex-husband (John Russell) who resides in your jurisdiction.
I am currently on residing in Portugal. We had an out of court agreement (Collaborative Law Agreement)
for him to pay $941,100.00 plus legal fees and he has only paid me $270,500.00 USD.
I am hereby seeking your law firm to assist me in collecting the balance from him.
He has already agreed to pay me the balance but it is my belief that law firms like
yours is needed to help handle and facilitate the collection process from my ex-husband or
litigate this matter if he fails to pay as promised.
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.