Commercial debt collection scam using the names Keita Kaneko and Kanae Corporation
Date First Reported: April 2015
Primary Name Associated: Keita Kaneko
Description of Potential Fraud:
Six firms in Ontario and the US notified us that they received an email from the purported Keita Kaneko of Kanae Corporation looking to retain them with regards to a commercial debt collection.
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 from the fraudster to the lawyer:
From: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Monday, March 16, 2015 7:23 AM
Subject: Potential Case
Please advice if you handle any case involving breach of
Replying to the email brought this response:
Thank you for your promptly response. Attached is a copy of the sales contract, payment receipt for the deposit and our email correspondence with Home Depot USA Inc. with regards to this transaction.
Following our request for a refund, they appealed to setup payment in two installments within a month interval, of which the first installment was paid on the 20th of November, 2014 in the amount of $497,500.00 after so much reminder and threat of involving a lawyer (payment receipt attached also). The balance was due in December, 2014 and since then, all our efforts to have them remit funds proved abortive. Detailed are all contained in our attached correspondence with Home Depot USA. Inc
Total amount of goods ordered: $2,540,891.00
Initial deposit made to Home Depot USA. Inc (i.e. 50% of the total amount): $1,270,445.00
Amount refunded (on the 20th of November, 2014): $497,500.00
Balance amount due to KANAE CORPORATION: $772,945.00
Prior to retaining you, please forward a copy of your retainer agreement for our review and signature. We wait to hear from you.
Tel: +81 (0) 908 576 099
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.
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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.
May 13, 2015 at 6:29 pm, Charles McKenzie said:
Wish I had read this one sooner. However, no loss on our end. We received a “cashiers check” from the debtor (Home Depot), but it had been initially mailed in Canada. The president of Home Depot is not likely to be signing a letter from a local store, but from their headquarters in Atlanta, GA. The cashiers check itself had many red flags that I don’t want to go into here out of fear that the scammers will be notified and find a way around those. but, rest assured, if you look at it, you’ll find the warning signs quickly.
And the last couple of letters from my “creditor/client” mentioned a DIFFERENT DEBTOR. They used the business name of “Airgas, Inc.” so you may as well start watching out for that one too.
Good luck everyone. Stay on guard!
November 14, 2019 at 4:22 am, Timothy Rose said:
This scam still exists. My partner and I in Texas kept telling each other that this stank and I spent hours trying to prove it was a scam before telling a potential million dollar client to kick rocks. The companies in my scam were different, but the total “order” amount in question was the same. Stay diligent, y’all.