Former notary Rashida Samiji was fined $33 million by the British Columbia Securities Commission after they determined that she was responsible for running an $100 million dollar Ponzi scheme. During a committee panel last July, the commission decided that Samiji committed fraud for a scheme that was active from 2003 to 2012. While raising money for investors, Samiji had opted to trade securities, which was not previously licensed to handle.
The fine has been the highest penalty that the commission has provided to date. Samiji will face criminal prosecution for 28 charges of fraud and theft in correlation to an alleged 14 victims that were taken advantage of while her Ponzi scheme was active. With a slated $17 million to be accounted for in the case, Samiji declared bankruptcy during 2012. However, the commission also concluded that Samiji was responsible for raising over $110 million in funds from investors by deceiving them into believing that the money would be deposited into a trust account used only for the notary public practice. The funds would then only be used as a form of collateral in order to develop a “letter of comfort” to Mark Anthony Group, based in Vancouver.
Moreover, Samiji also led the investors to believe that the aforementioned letter would be used to help raise funding for operations that would be performed in South Africa and South America. Fees would be paid to investors, ranging from six to 12 percent each year in return for the use of the funds. In reality, Samiji did not have a trust account and also held no correlation to the Mark Anthony Group. In fact, Mark Anthony Group was not even aware that Samiji was running a Ponzi scheme under the guise of providing them with assistance.
Samiji would then return $99 million of the funds to the investors, only funded by the money received from other investors. As a result, the committee panel also ordered for Samiji to pay $10.8 million in funds which would represent the amount of financial losses incurred by the investors due to the scheme. Additionally, the British Columbia Securities Commission banned Samiji from trading securities in British Columbia’s capital markets. As a result, Samiji will be indefinitely banned from acting as an advisor, consultant, officer, or director for any registered company within the region.