Divorce settlement fraud using the name Clara Fisher
Date First Reported: April 2019
Primary Name Associated: Clara Fisher
Description of Potential Fraud:
Two Ontario firms notified us that they received an email from the purported Clara Fisher looking to retain them with regards to a collecting overdue payments resulting from a separation agreement.
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 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 Cybercrime and Bad Cheque Scams Fraud Fact Sheet lists the red flags of a bogus legal matter that is really a fraud.
Here is the email received by the lawyers:
From: Clara Fisher [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Thursday, April 11, 2019 8:36 AM
Subject: I NEED A LAWYER
I am Clara Fisher, contacting your firm in regards to a divorce settlement with my ex-husband Weber Fisher Who now resides in your Country. We were based in Germany before our divorce, I am currently in Germany .
We had an out of court Collaborative Law Agreement for him to pay me
$390,450.00 plus legal fees. He has only paid me $44,000.
since he moved away to your country, I do not know his current physical address, he prefers to communicate me by email to avoid quarrels. I don’t also want to bother his sick and uncooperative mother unless it is my last option.
So I seek your firms assistance in collecting the balance from him. He has agreed already to pay me the balance but delaying.
It is my belief that a firm like yours is needed to help me collect payment from my ex-husband to avoid his delay tactics.
I suggest in your reply that you send me a draft Power of attorney so I sign to empower you to collect the balance from him, Knowing him well as one who will do anything to stay out of trouble, once he sees the power of attorney, he will contact you to make arrangements on the payments. If this fails, which I strongly doubt, you can then litigate.
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.