Date First Reported: June 2015

Primary Name Associated: Takeo Yamamoto

Description of Potential Fraud:


An Ontario firm notified us that they received an email from the purported Takeo Yamamoto of Kanehira Steel looking to retain them with regards to a commercial debt collection.

This is 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 purchaser (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 contact email sent by the fraudster to the lawyer:

From: Takeo Yamamoto [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: April-14-15 5:41 AM
Subject: Legal matter inquiry

Dear Attorney,
I am making an inquiry, Please do indicate if you handle commercial, contract or business related matters? And if this is not your area of practice, kindly refer me to an attorney who might be in a position to assist us with regards to the above mention areas of our needs.

Thank You
Takeo Yamamoto

Replying to the email brought this response:

Thank you for the response to my enquirer; it’s of great important to know your firms do handle such matters. Fristly ,let me quickly intimate you with matter requiring your services. Kenehira Steel Co.Ltd is a trading company and We engage in wholesale/direct retail sales of multi-service Steel and Aluminum products. The company’s head office is based in Osaka, Japan with office in the United Kingdom.

We sincerely wish to know if your firm services will be available in assisting us with a breach of contract and payment delay matter as it relate to our customer in your province. We have customers with overdue payment invoice who is yet to make full payment for the goods supplied in line with the agreement enter into. We have send out notification and remainder notice of the due payment. It is my belief that a Law firm likes yours is needed in a matter of this nature. We would want your firm to provide legal assistance in the area of our Account receivables collections as we sincerely wish to eliminate the delayed in receiving due payment for product supplied to our customers. We need your firm to issue demand notice when require or possible litigation and to bring actions in court against any customers now and in our future supplied since there is an agreement in place.

However, It will be important for me to point out that we necessarily do not have payment defaulters but we wish to being to bear that all invoice should be settle within the stipulated due date as litigation may be introduced as a last resort. Our expectation upon engaging your firm services will be within the scenario of payment remainder notice to any of our purchasers who are reluctant to settle their invoices as at when due. We believe this will trigger a positive response from them towards settling their outstanding invoices in a timely manner. Presently the overdue invoice amount to $891,939.66 only

We might be requiring your services on a long term contracts basis in view of our continuous trading with Canadian customers. However, you may wish to notify us of the requirement as to engaging your services. The documentation for any customer’s transaction and invoices will be provided at your request.

We have suffered so much loss as a result of payment which is being delayed by some of our customers and this has inversely affected our operations. Let us know the best way to have this issue tackled. Furthermore, we have concerns as we have always had a cordial and successful business relationship with our customers and we sincerely wish to maintain this relationship. And so,we do requires a cost-effective solutions utilizing a range of alternative dispute resolution if possible without having to resolve to litigation. But if ever litigation is involved, the distance gives us some concern with regards to court appearances. How can this and our receivables be handled by your firm? Do you charge on hourly basis or on a contingency fees basis? What are our responsibilities, what should we expect from you? Please advice on the best way possible as we will comply. A quick response will be appreciated.

Takeo Yamamoto
TEL. +81-6-4560-4495

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.

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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.