Commercial debt collection scam using the names Susumo Katsuro and Eikoh Trading
Date First Reported: January 2015
Primary Name Associated: Susumo Katsuro
Description of Potential Fraud:
Two Maryland firms notified us that they received an email from the purported Susumo Katsuro of Eikoh Trading 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: Wednesday, January 14, 2015 7:17 AM
Subject: Legal Matters
Name: Susumu Katsuro
Email Address: [email protected]
Subject: Legal Matters
We need your legal assistance in a business transaction and agreements matters. A referral will be welcome if this is not your area of practice.
Replying to the email brought this response:
Thanks for responding to our request and we want to sincerely thank you for putting so much interest in our case. We hope and anticipate a wonderful representation from your firm.
I would prefer we communicate the details of the transaction through e-mails, reason is because we are hours ahead of your time and conversing this case via a telephone won’t be favourable due to all manners of communication hitches . Communication through e-mails is to allow fast and easy access between us, but we can subsequently arrange for a phone conversation when necessary. However you can take a proper review on our case for your assessment/record and proceed on the prevailing issue
I am in the process of selling my Dredger Please find below the name of the proposed buyer for your conflict check. I want to know your hourly rate for preparing a purchase agreement; I would attach in my next mail the needed documentation details of my Dredger for your review. Please advise me on your rate, initial retainer fee and forward me your retainer agreement.
Ellicott Dredges, LLC
1611 Bush Street Baltimore MD 21230
Susumu J. Katsuro
EIKOH TRADING INC.
YOKOHAMA EAST 21, Shinmachi 5-12, Kanagawa-ku,
Yokohama 221-0043, Japan
TEL: +81 45-453-5671
FAX: +81 45-453-1488
PS:Just to let you know,i would be working overtime during and outside normal office hours due to time difference.I’d strongly solicit your co-operation through this process
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.
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.
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