Date First Reported: October 2015

Primary Name Associated: Ryusaburo Sugimoto

Description of Potential Fraud:


An Ontario firm reported to us that they’ve been contacted by the purported Ryusaburo Sugimoto of Hakuto Cowith regards to retaining their services to collect on a breach of a copyright agreement.

This appears to be a 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 party in breach of the agreement (who is also 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 to the lawyer:

From: Ryusaburo Sugimoto [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: October-19-15 9:10 PM
Subject: Intellectual Property,,

Dear Counsel,
I write to seek your service on Intellectual Property agreement matter in your jurisdiction.
Kindly let me know your retainer fee. I will forward the agreement as soon as possible to enable you run a conflict check.
Yours faithfully,
Ryusaburo Sugimoto

Hakuto Co., Ltd.
1-13, Shinjuku 1-Chome, Shinjuku-Ku,
Tokyo 160-8910, Japan
www. hakuto. co .jp

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.

For more immediate updates on fraud and claims prevention, subscribe to the email or RSS feed updates from LAWPRO’s AvoidAClaim blog.

Fraud Fact SheetMore 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.