Angelina Codina was originally charged earlier this month under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act by the Canadian Border Services Agency for representing clients without being a lawyers or certified immigration consultant.
She was denied bail and is awaiting trial.
On Thursday, police charged her with seven new counts of fraud over $5,000.
Mehrdad Dostmohammadi, a former client of Codina’s, told CBC News that his family sold a home in Iran to raise $15,000 that she requested to assist in helping his brother immigrate to Canada.
“She told us, ‘we will bring him here between eight to ten months,’ and now it’s more than 14 months later and she hasn’t done anything,” he said.
Dostmohammadi is among dozens of alleged victims of Codina’s ongoing fraud in multiple countries.
In 2000, Codina was convicted of grand larceny in New York and sentenced to a minimum of nine years in prison. Two years later, she was disbarred by the Law Society of Upper Canada after stealing $20,000 from the province’s legal aid plan.
'No regulatory control'
Codina has also been sued dozens of times in small claims court by former clients, but has never paid the money she owes, CBC News learned.
Immigration lawyer Robin Seligman says that fraudulent schemes like the one Codina is accused of running are more common than most people might imagine.
“I’ve been seeing this for years … There’s no regulatory control over these people,” Seligman said.
“They can tell people what they want to hear and have them fill in applications under their own names, meanwhile they’re behind the scenes giving them legal advice and they’re not allowed be doing that.”
Dostmohammadi said he hopes the federal government will take steps to protect citizens from alleged fraudsters like Codina.