Real estate bad cheque scam using the name Jun Akira
Date First Reported: February 2016
Primary Name Associated: Jun Akira
Description of Potential Fraud:
Two Ontario lawyers notified us that he received an email from the purported Jun Akira looking to retain them with regards to representing them on a real estate transaction.
In this type of scam the fraudster pretends interest in a property and sends a certified cheque or bank draft as a deposit or full payment that will be deposited in the lawyer’s trust account. Soon after, some reason will be given for backing out of the deal and the fraudster will ask for the deposit or payment back, minus whatever legal fees and penalties the lawyer holds back.
Of course, the original cheque was fraudulent, so any amount the lawyer sends to the fraudster will cause a shortfall in the trust account.
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:
From: JUN AKIRA [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Thursday, February 11, 2016 6:56 AM
I need an attorney to help me draft a purchase and sale agreement for the transaction. A referral would be appreciated if this is not your field. Kindly get back to me for more details
Replying to the email brought this response:
Thanks for your mail, i am interested in the purchase of the property at [address removed], Toronto ON. This the seller website (Kijiji listing)kindly help me make contact with the seller or agent. Please note that as i am currently on an oil rig in the coast of south Asia I would call you as soon as I get to shore. I would like to make an offer now not to lose the property to another buyer. However, my contact information’s and terms as below;
Home Address:No. 6D, 16F, Zhongho Building, Schenzhen, China, Telephone number: 0086 -5217947990
I would like to close late September
I would like the contract in my name only, i.e Jun Akira
I would like a home inspection and it would not be contingent to the purchase.
I would like an appraisal on the property.
I hope the above information meet you well as I await the offer document to review in accord.
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.