BRITISH COLUMBIA

Ponzi Scheme Gets Former B.C. Notary Public $33 Million Fine

01/21/2015 02:23 EST | Updated 03/23/2015 05:59 EDT
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VANCOUVER - Securities regulators in British Columbia have fined a former notary public $33 million and banned her permanently from the province's capital markets for what they say was a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme.

Regulators say Rashida Samji ran what amounted to a Ponzi scheme between 2003 and January 2012 in which she raised a total of at least $100 million from 200 or more investors.

Samji allegedly told investors their money would be held in trust and used only to secure letters of comfort for the financing of a British Columbia winery. Investors were to earn fees for securing the letters of credit.

"None of this was true," said a statement issued by the British Columbia Securities Commission.

"Samji perpetrated a fraud each time she traded securities to an investor" and breached securities laws "many times in her dealings with hundreds of clients," a BCSC panel said in announcing its sanctions.

"The magnitude and duration of the fraudulent investment scheme and the number of investors affected justify a significant penalty."

In addition to the $33-million fine and capital markets ban, the panel ordered Samji to pay to the regulator more than $10.8 million — the difference between the money deposited by investors under the fraud and the money paid out to them.

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