Commercial debt collection scam using the names Yuan Wen-Lien and Kentec Machinery
Date First Reported: April 2015
Primary Name Associated: Yuan Wen-Lien
Description of Potential Fraud:
Twenty firms in Ontario and the U.S. have notified us that they received an email from the purported Yuan Wen-Lien of Kentec Machinery 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: Kentec Machinery Inc. [email protected]
Sent: Friday, April 10, 2015 1:37 PM
Subject: (No Subject)
I wish to inquire about your legal services and possible representation
on behalf of my company. Do let me know if your firm is currently
accepting new clients, for more information. I look forward to your
Kentec Machinery Inc.
2755 Belmont Court
Brea, CA 92821.
Replying to the email brought this response:
I appreciate your prompt response to my legal inquiry. I need your legal representation in a potential litigation matter involving Lehue Machine & Tool,1915 N Cedar Street Mishawaka, IN 46545. They owe my firm for goods delivered in good condition. The value of the goods delivered is $398,750.00.(Three Hundred and Ninety Eight Thousand, Seven Hundred Fifty Dollars). We received an initial deposit of $100,000.00. Due date for the balance payment was the 26th of February, 2015 as stipulated in the invoice.
Please, run a conflict check on my debtor and also state your hourly rate and retainer fee.
I will like you to be aware of the cordial relationship my firm had shared with our customer over the years and would want to maintain that business relationship after collection of the outstanding sum owed to us.
Do not hesitate to call me if you have any questions.
I look forward to a timely response from you.
KENTEC MACHINERY INC.
2755 Belmont Court
Brea, CA 92821.
Direct Tel: (714) 705 4455
Fax: (714) 344 0373
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.