UK "Trust enquiry" asks NZ lawyers to set up trust

A New Zealand lawyer has been targeted with emails which ask for assistance in setting up a trust fund for children reputedly in New Zealand. This bears all the hallmarks of an attempted fraud. The name used by "Michael" has appeared in online dating scams, but not attempted lawyer scams.

The email exchange, with the New Zealand lawyer's responses, is reproduced below. As is normal with these attempts, requests for proof of identity or other details are ignored.

Initial email

Subject: Trust enquiry

Dear Sir(s)

I have just recently separated from my Partner, to whom I have two children with, she has learnt of an enormous financial gain that I was awarded and has threatened to pursue legal action against me.

Amicably, she has adhered to my suggestion to have an independent trust deed formed for the benefit of the children once they graduate from University or turn 21 years of age.

The issue at hand is of immediate concern, can you please advise me on the service you can provide for this situation and fees.

Regards,

Michael. 

Response from lawyer

Where do you live?

Second email to lawyer

Dear [Name],

My ex- partner and the children reside in NZ.

I seek to construct a trust that will provide my two children with a portion of the funds I have acquired as opposed to giving the money to my ex on behalf of the children.

Ideally, I am looking for a lawyer in New Zealand to act as a trustee with a legal obligation to disperse the funds upon my instruction as that is where my ex-partner and children reside. I live in the UK so it will be very difficult for me to live my business here. In total how much would your fees be in light of the above information?

Regards,

Michael.

Response from lawyer

Are the funds in New Zealand?

Third email to lawyer

Good afternoon,

I have not had access to my emails for the past few days, the funds are with me in the UK, if the firm is able to construct a trust for me then the money will be transferred for the trust and service provided.

Regards,

Michael.

Response from lawyer

Can you please send me a certified copy of a government issued photographic ID, together with two forms of evidence showing your physical address such as a utilities bill, bank statement etc. Could you also advise who the trustees and beneficiaries of your trust are going to be?

Fourth email to lawyer 

Hello ,[Name]

Thank you for your email and sorry for my late email, I have been very busy with my work, my two children is going to be 21 soon so I want to give him a gift of 400,000 dollars because the mother and I her no more married and I have promised that I will give them some money as soon as they turn 21 so that they can start a business or buy a property, so I want you to do a legal documentation paper for me to stand as a witness to show that I gave my children the money, please email me your full cost that you charge, and send me your full name and address so that I will issue out a cheque for you on behalf of my children and I will instruct you on what to do next.

Regards,

Michael.

Response from lawyer 

Hi Michael

Unfortunately I cannot send you a letter of engagement until I receive the information I requested in my email to you dated [Date].

Regards.