BRITISH COLUMBIA

Vancouver Ponzi Scheme: Rashida Samji Arrested

11/13/2013 04:56 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST
VANCOUVER - A former notary public from Vancouver is facing fraud and theft charges over an alleged ponzi scheme that police believe bilked more than 100 investors out of as much as $40 million.

The RCMP announced Wednesday the 28 counts sworn against 60-year-old Rashida Samji focus specifically on 14 victims who allegedly invested $17 million between 2006 and 2012.

The force also noted some of the allegations stretch back as far as 2003.

"This was a lengthy complex investigation and its success would not have been achieved without the co-operation of the Vancouver police and support given by investigators from the BC Securities Commission," said RCMP Supt. Derek Simmonds in a news release.

"This investigation successfully dismantled a fraud scheme which had victimized numerous people. The outcome is a product of very thorough work completed by the Financial Integrity investigators coupled with the support provided by partner agencies," says Simmonds.

Members of the RCMP's Federal Serious and Organized Crime division and the Vancouver Police Department began an investigation in February 2012.

Samji was arrested without incident while leaving her residence Nov. 7 but has been released on $100,000 bond and 13 bail conditions.

She is expected to make her next appearance in Vancouver provincial court Nov. 18. The allegations have yet to be proven in court.

Samji is also facing a civil class-action lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court, and one court document states about 96 investors have launched legal action over a loss of $22.7 million.

The lawyer listed as representing Samji in the civil action did not return a call by The Canadian Press.

Paul Bennett, legal counsel for the plaintiffs in the civil case, has said previously his clients are resident of Metro Vancouver and for most of the investors, the money represented their savings. He also said a trial date in the civil action has been set for May 2014.

The Society of Notaries Public of B.C. suspended Samji on Feb. 7, 2012 and obtained a court order appointing a custodian over Samji's practice on Feb. 8.

She subsequently submitted her resignation on March 6, 2012.

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