Separation agreement scam using the name Marlene Cox
Date First Reported: March 2014
Primary Name Associated: Marlene Cox
Description of Potential Fraud:
[Updated May 2014]
Twenty firms in Ontario and the U.S. have notified us that they received an email from the purported Marlene Cox 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, and subsequent reply:
Marlene Cox [email protected]
14/03/2014 02:38 AM
I’m requesting for your legal services for an enforcement of Spousal and Child’s support settlement agreement against my ex-husband. If you are interested in rendering this service, please kindly advice immediately for
Email: [email protected]
Replying to the email brought this response:
Good day to you and is was nice talking to you. I am currently in Japan for an assignment. My ex husband Alan Cox and I were divorced in Japan but he has since relocated to the United States and he is also a citizen.
The legal description of my case involved both of us agreeing under a Spousal and Child’s settlement agreement, merged into and made part of the final judgment of dissolution of marriage for a settlement of child support, spousal support, and medical support of US$1,255,070.00, of which US$371,150.00 has been remitted by him leaving a balance of US$883,920.00 to be paid. This is the reason why I contacted you as there is already an agreement in place. I know for sure my ex husband has the financial means to pay for the balance he owes me. He is aware of my intention to seek legal actions. Thus, I request your legal services to enforce the court order compelling him to remit the balance he owed. Attached for your perusal is a copy of the Settlement Agreement, and the Court Decree of Divorce, and I will be pleased to provide further information on this case on request. I expect this to be a non-litigation matter.
If you are interested in representing me to enforce payment, let me know your hourly billing rate, forward the draft retainer agreement of your firm and mode of remitting payment for the retainer so we can proceed.
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.