Fraud Alert: December 15, 2011

BC law firm falls victim to bad cheque scam

December 15, 2011

Editor's note: This fraud alert includes names used by fraudsters in BC. Real people with the same names may be the victims of a fraudster or of coincidence, but are not suspected of wrongdoing.

The Law Society has learned of a BC law firm that has this week fallen victim to the "bad cheque" scam. 

The scheme was similar to the one described in the Spring 2010 edition of Practice Watch. The "client" requested help in collecting money owed by her former spouse pursuant to a collaborative law settlement. She provided a copy of a collaborative law agreement and eventually agreed to a 25% contingency fee. Even before the firm sent a demand, a bank draft in favour of the firm was received from the ex-husband. Assuming the draft was legitimate, the firm wired the funds (less its fee) to a payee identified by the "client," only to discover later that the draft was counterfeit. The names used by the "client" and "former spouse" were Tammi Mazur and Brian Denman. 

We have also learned of an intellectual property twist that has just surfaced in relation to the phony debt collection scam. In this scam, a purported Dan Nagasakii of CCP Group International asks for help enforcing intellectual property rights in relation to the unauthorized distribution of language software by someone "in your locale."

What can you do you protect yourself? Remember to follow the client identification and verification rules, including verifying identification in person when there is a "financial transaction," and consulting the Law Society's Fraud Alerts page for extensive publications with more tips and information on the bad cheque scam. And make a note to visit Fraud Alerts again in the new year, as we are posting additional material to help you navigate the publications and avoid the risk.