NEWS

More charges laid in Toronto immigration fraud probe

05/05/2015 03:44 EDT | Updated 05/05/2016 05:59 EDT
Thirty-nine additional charges have been laid against a Toronto woman in connection with an alleged immigration-fraud scheme that police say affected hundreds of people who wanted to come to Canada.

Toronto police say the woman owned a company called GoWest Jobs International, an employment recruiting agency that specializes in immigrant workers. 

According to police, the company took payments from foreign applicants, many of Filipino descent, to produce fraudulent documents, references and employment contracts.

These materials were then submitted to foreign government agencies to create the appearance that all the necessary paperwork was in order, police say. When the applicants tried to follow up, however, they were denied entry to Canada because of the false documentation submitted on their behalf.

After police announced the initial charges in February, additional individuals came forward to speak with investigators. Police say there are now more than 600 alleged victims. In total, police say the victims have been defrauded of more than $2.3 million.

Forty-six-year-old Imelda "Mel" Fronda Saluma now faces more than 70 charges. These include multiple counts of fraud over $5,000 and obtaining money by false pretences.

The allegations and charges have not been proven in court.

Beyond losing their money, the alleged fraud has another tough consequence for the victims. Those caught with fake paperwork are banned from reapplying to work in Canada for two years.

Police believe there may be other alleged victims.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Det.-Const. Erwin Mendoza at 416-808-3189 or Det.-Const. Jennifer Rae at 416-808-3107, or investigators at 416-808-3100.

Tips can also be passed on anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at www.222tips.com, or by texting TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637).

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