Commercial equipment purchase scam using the names Leo Himura and Kombaa Dredging Equipment
Date First Reported: October 2015
Primary Name Associated: Leo Himura
Description of Potential Fraud:
A New Jersey firm notified us that they received an email from the purported Leo Himura of Kombaa Dredging Equipment looking to retain them with regards to making a large commercial purchase.
This appears to be 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.
From: Hardy, Michelle [mailto:[email protected]] On Behalf Of [email protected]
Sent: Monday, October 05, 2015 11:22 AM
Subject: Please advise
Please advise,If your Law firm handles business transactions/purchase agreements?Referral will be welcome.
Replying to the email brought this response:
Thank you for your email response, My company is in the process of selling one of its Dredgers. Please find below the name of the proposed buyer for your conflict check. I want to know your fee for preparing a purchase agreement.I’d like a telephone conversation but for the time difference between us ,it is difficult to know a convenient time to place a call to your office,but will check my email often for your letter.
Ferreira Construction Co
31 Tannery Rd, Somerville, NJ 08876
Find attached the Dredger information and the Term Sheet between us for your review. Please note: You are not to contact the proposed buyer unless you are advice to.
We intend to retain your firm, so please prepare and send a formal Retainer Letter/Service Agreement in your return email for our review and signature so you can proceed with the Agreement Drafting.
I await your prompt response.
Kombaa Dredging Equipment
Kita Ward, Saitama,Japan
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.
October 12, 2015 at 9:57 pm, Jim Stokes said:
I am an attorney in Houston, Texas and I received a nearly identical email that purported to be from a Ken Yoshiro with Kombaa Dredging Equipment. I don’t know if the company is real or not, but its website looks real. I could not find any mention of Ken Yoshiro even though he claims to be a VP of the company.
I am a solo practitioner with no international experience so I thought that it was odd that a Japanese company wanted to hire me. The deal seemed fishy, but like the New Jersey firm, I was curious so I responded.
Even before I saw your website and the email above, I spotted some red flags. Mr. Yoshiro never addressed me by my name so I assume that this same email was being sent to lawyers across the country or around the world. The alleged buyer was a well known Houston-based construction company, Williams Brothers Construction, but the term sheet they sent me was signed by a “Mr. Bruce” on behalf of Williams Brothers. This reminded me of the work of grade school students turning in notes signed by “Bruce’s mother”.
I ignored “Yoshiro” after receiving the “term sheet”. He sent me a couple more form emails shortly thereafter asking me to send him my retainer letter, but I have not heard from him since.
I hope this helps. I would be interested in knowing what happens with “Kombaa”.