Commercial equipment purchase scam using the name Walter Long (or Peterson) and Universal Machinery
Date First Reported: March 2016
Primary Name Associated: Walter Long
Description of Potential Fraud:
Two Maine firms have notified us that they received an email from the purported Walter Long (or Peterson) and Universal Machinery looking to retain them with regards to making a large commercial purchase. (There is a real company being impersonated here. The websites www.dredgesbroker.com and www.universalmachineryandequipments.com mirror the real site, except that the contact information has been altered. The above names being used in this scam are also real people who have been impersonated.)
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.
Here is the initial contact email sent to the lawyer:
Here is the initial contact email sent to the lawyer:
+1 – 604 – 5020369
Please briefly describe what you would like to talk about:
I need an attorney to help me draft a purchase and sale agreement
Replying to the email brought this response:
I do appreciate your reply. As we have earlier stated through our first contact, our company is in need of an experienced business attorney to guide us through closing the sale of a 2010 28-inch Cutter Suction Dredging Ellicott equipment to Aki Engineering Assiciates located in Gray, Maine. The need for an attorney is based on the fact that my company is not located in Maine so that informed our need for a legal guidance based in the same location to avoid breaking any known law.
The above mentioned 2010 dredging equipment has a sales price of $2,950,000.00usd. This includes the insurance cost, shipping and handling cost, quality control test approval to ensure the standards tallies with the US government approved level.
I have included a couple of documents to your attention and review. Upon signing your retainer, copies of the Letter of Intent(LOI) shall be sent to you together with the signed retainer.
You can send us your retainer for our review. If we are all clear on your rate and terms of engagement, it will be endorsed so that we can start the closing of the transaction.
See below the prospective customer for your conflict check on:
Aki Engineering Associates
48 May Meadow Drive
Gray, ME 04039
I look forward to reading from you soonest.
Assistant Sales Director
Universal Machinery & Equipments, Inc
20893 Fraser Hwy,
Langley, BC V3A 4G7
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]. We use this information for the warnings we post on AvoidAClaim. We do not disclose the names of firms that have provided us with information.
Ontario Lawyers - Call LAWPRO
If you are an Ontario lawyer acting on a matter that you suspect might be a fraud, call LAWPRO at 1-800-410-1013 (416-598-5899). One of our Fraud Team members 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, 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. 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 it is drawn upon. 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).
What if the fraud has been successful?
If you have been successfully duped, please immediately notify LAWPRO as there may be a claim against you. See the LAWPRO website for instructions on how to report a claim.
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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. To proactively prevent trust account shortfalls and malpractice claims, LAWPRO encourages firms to teach their lawyers and staff about fraud and how to recognize fraud attempts.
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