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Breach of loan agreement - Variation with Photo ID

The Initial Contact

The contact is made with an email which is sent to a named New Zealand lawyer from someone living in South Carolina, United States. The title in the Subject line is Re: Possible Representation. As usual, several phrases in the email indicate that it has been prepared by someone who has some difficulty with written English.

Dear Counsel,

I am seeking legal representation from your law firm regarding a breach of Loan agreement I had with my borrower.

I need proper legal advice and assistance to know the best way to handle this issue. If this is your area of practice,

please contact me to provide you with further Information.

Regards,

[Name].

The Followup

If the contacted New Zealand lawyer responds, asking for further information, a longer email is sent. In spite of the request to pardon the “late email response”, this email is received very promptly after any response by a New Zealand lawyer.

The followup email attaches a rather murky scan of both sides of a South Carolina drivers’ licence with a photo.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the name given by the scammer is one which has been used in a number of email scams originating from a country in Africa called Nigeria.

The attached “loan agreement promisory note” is in the name of a genuine business in the location of the contacted lawyer – which, of course, does extensive business with someone living in South Carolina, United States! One giveaway in the example used here is that the street address of the New Zealand business given in the “promisory note” is misspelled – just as the street address used on the website is misspelled.

Dear Counsel,

Good day to you and thanks for responding to my email. Please pardon my late email response as my condition does not allow me to stay long on the computer. The consultation fee shouldn't be a problem, kindly send me your firm fee / retainer agreement for my review and upon receipt and if OK, I shall make immediate provision for the fee. 

My full names are James Gilliard. I am a private lender who lends Investors, small companies and individuals funds on a fixed term to invest and in return pay back with interest. On January 5th, 2009, I lend Kirkham Electrical who is located in your jurisdiction the sum of $480.000.00 with interest on two years fixed term and to pay back January 5th, 2011.

There has not been any attorney working on this case. Different payment dates have been promised and I still have not received anything. I was advised to seek legal assistance in my borrower jurisdiction which is why I contacted you to act as my counsel in retrieving these funds. My last contact with my Borrower, I was told I would receive payment not later than Mid January 2011 and till now, nothing has been paid.

I will like to know what your fees would be in order for me to inform the company to expect contact from you as you have been authorized to act on my behalf and receive said funds or make contact with your firm. I would like to forward your details to them on your approval, so they know a law firm is representing me and I can sue for breach of agreement if they don’t keep their promise. I would like to give them this last chance to fulfill their obligations before we start legal proceeding.

Please do get back to me so I can furnish you with the required details to contact my borrower and receive my funds on my behalf as I know these companies respect law firms and do not want to be carried to court. Before we proceed I will like you to forward your fee/retainer agreement for me to review and if okay, sign and return for you to begin work. Upon receipt of the fee / agreement, I shall make immediate provision for the fee. Also, include your firm payment information should incase they want to make a full or partial payment they owe without further delays or possible litigation.

Thank you for your anticipated co-operation and understanding. Contact me should you require more information. I have attached here a copy of the Loan Agreement Promissory Note for your information. My borrower’s name is [name of genuine New Zealand business].

Regards,

[Name]

And...

If you have got to this stage, Stop! If the scam follows its normal course, you will end up with a large cheque in your trust account – sent to you by the scammer when the “lender” magically comes up with the full amount owing as soon as you have forwarded your “firm payment information”. This will then bounce – but only after you have deducted your fee and remitted the remaining funds to your South Carolingian “client”.

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Last updated on the 11th May 2012