Date First Reported: January 2015

Primary Name Associated: Ishiba Mark

Description of Potential Fraud:


Firms in Ontario, Michigan and Colorado notified us that they received an email from the purported Ishiba Mark looking to retain them with regards to a breach of a business loan 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 other names associated with it , and our Fraud Fact Sheet for a list 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’s intake site, and subsequent reply:

From: Ishiba Mark [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Wednesday, January 14, 2015 12:36 PM
Subject: re: requesting counsel

Dear Counsel,

I want to inquire if your firm handles collection or enforcement of settlement agreement. A referral would be appreciated if this is not your area of practice.

Ishiba Mark

Replying to the email brought this response:

Thank you for your prompt response to my inquiry. I live in Japan, while My friend David Hamilton lives in Coral Gables, Florida . He is a citizen of the United States. I loan him $500,000.00. We both agreed under a period of time to pay back the money I loan him, he has paid me $150,000.00 but still owing $350,000.00 and the stipulated time for completion of payment has long elapsed. This is the reason why I contacted you. I know for sure my friend has the financial means to pay the balance he owes me.

Thus, I request your legal services to enforce him or a court order compelling him to remit balance he owed me.


I am hoping that this can be resolved in a timely manner. Please review the document of the loan I attached to this email and if you are happy to proceed, kindly send me a copy of your retainer and if the terms are acceptable I will sign so we can commence the process without delay.

Thank you for your anticipated cooperation and professionalism.

Ishiba Mark

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 are an Ontario lawyer who suspects 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.

What can you do to help put a stop to the fraud attempt? You can simply stop replying to the fraudster’s emails or inform them that you suspect fraud and will not act on the matter (or will take no further actions on the matter). You can report the fraudsters email addresses to the email hosting company. If you have a fraudulent cheque you can destroy it or send it to the fraud department of the financial institution, which may wish to see it. In Canada, you can report the fraud to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

We are often asked if it is worthwhile to report the fraud attempt to the police in the hopes of helping catch the fraudsters. You can certainly report the fraud to your local or federal law enforcement agencies, but unfortunately it is often difficult, expensive and time consuming for them to attempt to shut down these online fraud perpetrators (though there are some successes).

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.

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

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.