A former notary public and two companies she controlled have been found to have committed a $100 million fraud, according to a hearing from the B.C. Securities Commission.
The commission found that between 2003 and January 2012, Rashida Samji defrauded 200 investors of nearly $100 million through a Ponzi scheme. Samji perpetrated a fraud when she traded securities in a Ponzi scheme to at least 200 investors for more than $100 million.
“For the purposes of these findings, we find that the evidence establishes, clearly, convincingly, and cogently, that Samji took not less than $100 million from over 200 investors,” said the BCSC in a release.
The panel found that Samji ran a Ponzi scheme, telling investors that she would hold their money in trust and that it would be used only to secure letters of comfort for the financing of a British Columbia winery. Additionally, Samji told investors they would earn fees for securing the letters of credit.
Instead, the panel found the so-called investment was “one big lie” and “a monumental deceit”.
“There was no winery involved, no letters of comfort, nor any fees. Samji did not hold investors’ money in trust, but used it to pay returns to other investors, and for her own use,” said the BCSC.
“Samji used investors’ funds to pay other investors in order to keep the scheme going. She also used investors’ funds for her own purposes. All of the investors’ money Samji took she put at risk. The investment scheme was a sham.”
As is common in Ponzi schemes, the panel suggested in its findings that it was all but certain that some investors will lose all of the money they invested.
“Many investors may see some return of funds through the civil proceedings, but the evidence shows that this group will also suffer significant losses,” the panel said.
“None will ever see the returns they were promised.”
The panel did however dismiss fraud allegations against Samji relating to falsified mortgages.
Samji became a notary public in 1988, according to BCSC documents. She was suspended by the Society of Notaries Public of B.C. in February 2012.
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