Warning: Emails misusing the name of Shoosmiths LLP diverting a payment

11 September 2019

Emails have been sent falsely claiming to be from Maurice Muchinda of Shoosmiths LLP, diverting a payment to an account set up by an unknown third party.

What is the scam?

The SRA understands that emails between a client and Maurice Muchinda, a solicitor at Shoosmiths LLP, were intercepted. The SRA understands that this may be due to the fact that the client’s computer may have been compromised. Emails were subsequently sent between the client and an unknown third party at the fraudulent email, one of which provided alternative bank account details.

The fraudulent email address is similar to the solicitor’s genuine email address (see below) but an ‘e’ has been added to the end of the firm’s name.

Any email received from the fraudulent email address above (with the misspelt domain name) is not a genuine email from a solicitor or firm authorised and regulated by the SRA.

Is there a genuine firm or person?

The SRA does authorise and regulate a genuine practising solicitor called Maurice Chibuye Muchinda (SRA ID: 477232). He works at Shoosmiths LLP (SRA ID: 569065). The firm’s registered office is at Witan Gate House, 500-600 Witan Gate West, Milton Keynes MK9 1SH and has one of its branch offices at The Lakes, Northampton NN4 7SH.

The genuine firm has confirmed that neither it nor the genuine solicitor has any connection to the fraudulent email address referred to in this alert.

What should I do?

When a firm's or individual's identity has been copied exactly (or cloned), due diligence is necessary. If you receive correspondence claiming to be from the above firm(s) or individual(s), or information of a similar nature to that described, you should conduct your own due diligence by checking the authenticity of the correspondence by contacting the law firm directly by reliable and established means. You can contact the SRA to find out if individuals or firms are regulated and authorised by the SRA and verify an individual's or firm's practising details. Other verification methods, such as checking public records (e.g. telephone directories and company records) may be required in other circumstances.