Richard Wallace & James Richard, Drillstream Exploration

luvinlife2

New Member
It all starts with an inquiry email like this - no footer on the email, no phone, no identifying information:

Dear Attorney,

I want to inquire if review of commercial lease agreements is in your wheelhouse of practice. Do let me know so I can provide more information. I found your contact info on the state bar directory.

I would appreciate a referral if this is not your area of practice.

Regards,

Richard Wallace
Assistant to James Richard


I briefly responded that it was indeed in my "wheelhouse of practice" and then received a second email like this - from alleged owner "James Richard" with alleged identifying information:

[attorney name],

Sorry for the slow response. We were hit with the Hurricane a few weeks back, so I have not been able to respond to my work emails. My company is in the process of closing a lease deal with a company in your state. We are negotiating the terms for the lease, we will be drafting the lease agreement. We want you to review the lease agreement, amend some of the terms if the need arises to protect our interest. They are looking at the possibility of leasing my Subsea Well Intervention Equipment for a 36 months duration.

We will require your services for the following:

Review the lease agreement, Amend if required.

Review the required documents for the lease

The total value of the transaction will be around $4,600,000. The lease payments will be broken down to daily rental payments and all finances will be handled by my company, we are hoping to kick this off by mid-November. The COVID19 outbreak has made us uncertain about the closing date. I will provide you with our previous lease agreements which we have used in the past to make things move as fast as possible once we have agreed with your terms of representation.

Send me your retainer agreement based on your hourly rate, I believe you will not exceed 25 hours on the whole project. I will not be available by telephone until late next week, we are still trying to put a lot of things in place. We can schedule to discuss after I have received and reviewed your retainer agreement. I look forward to hearing from you and working with you on this project. Let me know if you have any questions.

Lessee Conflict:
Northwest Pipeline GP
295 Chipeta Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84108
Regards,

James Richard
President
Drillstream Explorations LLC
Tel: 318-209-7679
Address:425 Edwards St,
Ste 507/508 Shreveport, LA 7110
Web: https://www.drillstreamexplorations.com


I looked at the website and it looked legitimate. I emailed a response that I required a response to an online questionnaire and signed agreement before receiving payment and scheduling a time but that I had some time available on a certain day.

He responded in his third email:

Thank you [attorney name] for your kind words and also for your quick update. We can schedule to discuss either October [date] or October [date]. First send me your retainer agreement today for review and we can talk more on the transaction when we speak.


He kept insisting on me sending him a retainer agreement, but he had not responded to the required questionnaire. I sent him a draft agreement but not a payment link (thankfully). I had asked where his company was registered because I was unable to find it in LA.

The following day my intern reach out to him by phone because I had blocked some time. There was no answer. She left a message. We investigated some more and found on this website that there was a fraud by EPG Explorations where the emails were way too similar to be coincidental and their privacy policies on their websites were as well.

He responded several days later in his fourth email:

Good afternoon [attorney name],

Thank you for taking the time to accept us as a new client. This email is to notify you that we are ready to retain your firm for the following services:

Review Lease agreement
Amend notables on the lease agreement if the need arises
Review supporting documents for the lease
Holding offer and security deposits for the lease if the need arise

Per your direction on your retainer agreement, send me your check or wire payment details and preferable mailing address that is convenient to receive mails by courier during this COVID-19 season.

PLEASE NOTE: We do not send mails to PO BOX.

I have discussed with the broker for the tenant about the possible next steps. I will need to see an offer letter which should outline their preferred terms and procedure for the lease. I need to be sure we have a serious offer before we start working on the lease agreement and sending it over for review.

They will be sending you a copy of the LOI and a holding deposit which will be issued to your client trust account since you will be the attorney overseeing the transaction. A holding commitment deposit of $200,000-250,000 and a letter of intent is part of our requirements from a customer to prevent us from listening to other potential offers.

The holding deposit will include your first month retainer fees, which the broker has agreed to pay on our behalf as a sign of commitment to their offer. Any further retainer due will be paid by my company once we have secured the lease contract with the tenant, after the offer has been accepted. They have asked me to give them until next week to put their finances and offer documents together, let's keep our fingers crossed and see if they are serious. I will be available for a quick call any time between 11:30 am to 4:00 pm CDT 5th October. Let me know what time works for you so I can book it on my calendar. I will send you a signed copy of the retainer agreement after we speak. I look forward to your response.

Regards,
James Richard
318-209-7679


He kept insisting on receiving the retainer agreement because he thought I would include a payment link - since I didn't he had to finally ask for it. Of course, I informed him that circumstances had changed and I could not provide him legal services.
 
S

SteveBilko

Guest
I always respond to these emails with a "Yes, I can help you. My fee is $2,500.00 an hour and I require a minimum of ten hours deposited into my escrow account." They always indicate that they're agreeable and ready to move forward. It's good for a laugh, but then I leave it there.
 

Nanook

Administrator
Staff member
Good, except by responding you told them you exist, that you read their emails and that you'd like them to send more to you. And they will.
 
A

anthony bruozas

Guest
I just got this message a week or so ago. How should one respond?
 
C

Camille - Attorney

Guest
I received the same exact emails as the first two above. I responded that I would send a retainer agreement, but asked them to go ahead and send the so called similar lease contracts for review. I then began researching to see if this was a scam since I also believed their website to be legitimate until I started googling James Richard and found no information on him or his company. I have received emails like this in the past that turned out to be legit. Unfortunately, it appears this is not.
 
C

California Counselor

Guest
My colleague forwarded me a a very similar email on August 25 acknowledging that it was likely spam. I did not respond, but rather looked up the company on the web (as well as the email address which was a big tell). I found a website of considerable depth, and looked further. The project names were quite interesting, so I googled them, and up came a number of hits with identical website presentations, but different company names, confirming the scam. All of this is not surprising, as no legitimate company ever pursues counsel this way. They all have lawyers, and they would find counsel through them. Apart from the chase of discovering the scam, just delete these emails unless you want to have some fum with t he fraudsters.
 
R

RLO

Guest
Got this exact email today. Good to know it’s a fraud. They worked hard for make it look legit.
 
It seems likely the scammers are phishing for business and bank account information from legitimate law firms to be used for some type of business email compromise scam in the future, corporate identity theft and/or fake check fraud.
 

Sphinx

Administrator
Staff member
@ Counselors, please do not waste your billable hours with these people. They steal money from you for every minute you waste with these.
Like she says. Delete those emails. They are never legitimate business offers.
 

Miyuki

Administratrix
Staff member
Fake check, but as GhanaGeria has noted, scams, like corona viruses, mutate. This could evolve into BEC, ID theft etc. Also, if you ever did get a fake check and you send money by wire, scammers will have your information and that isn't something you want them to have.
 
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