FRAUD ALERT: Money collection scam from "Jonathan Maxwell"

Confirmed email scam attempts purportedly from "Jonathan Maxwell" involving a "Mitchell Gates" have been circulating for some time – one of the many reported examples is below:


I went through your profile and i believe you will be able to help me. I borrowed money to my in-law who has paid me only 20 percent of the money and has refused to pay me the balance so I want legal action to be taken. Your urgent assistance will be highly appreciated. You can contact me via this email address:

Mr. Jonathan Maxwell

Upon responding, lawyers receive another email explaining that while the sender is based out of Japan, he is currently in hospital in the UK, and a “Mitchell Gates” owes him a large amount of money. Although details in the email may vary slightly, the scam process is consistent with commonly seen fraud attempts. Any communication from these individuals may be simply dismissed.

Be vigilant with every request for services that you receive. Fraudulent requests for services can be made by email, paper mail and courier, as well as individuals who arrive in person to retain you and use your trust account to receive and disburse funds. Be cautious with all cheques received, especially if they exceed an agreed upon amount.

Visit our Fraud section to read more on current reported scams and how to avoid them.

Remember that you must always confirm a prospective client’s identification in accordance with the Client ID Regulations of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society.

If you decide to proceed with a transaction, be sure to go to the bank website to verify branch transit number, address and phone number on the cheque. Wait until the bank confirms that the funds are legitimate and are safe to withdraw from the deposit. Where possible, use the Large Value Transfer System (LVTS), an electronic funds transfer system that allows large payments to be exchanged securely and immediately.

For tips to avoid being victimized, read a list of "Red Flags”, and visit the Fraud section on To report or seek advice on dealing with fraud and scam attempts, contact Cynthia Nield at or 902 423 1300, x346.