Rashida Samji, a former Vancouver notary from the Ismaili Aga Khani community, accused of committing a $110-million fraud involving at least 200 investors, has been fined and permanently banned from B.C.’s capital markets.
Samji was fined $33 million by a B.C. Securities Commission panel for running a massive Ponzi scheme, said Joyce Johner, senior litigation counsel at the commission.
“Most of the investors were told similar lies,” said Johner.
“They were all told their money was safe … [that] it was a high rate of interest because it was helping out this profitable winery and they could get their money back fairly quickly.”
Some of those investors called her the “magic lady” because of how quickly they saw profits — not realizing they were being paid with money from later investors.
The B.C. Securities Commission tracked $110 million from defrauded investors moving through Samji’s bank accounts.
Samji told her investors she was holding their money in trust, and a B.C. winery would use it as leverage to get loans and credits from other countries, said Johner.
‘Magic lady’ has to pay
Over 10 years, Samji allegedly defrauded more than 200 victims, including close friends and family, members of the Ismaili community and others drawn in by the promise of high returns, said Johner.
“[This] is the largest Ponzi scheme that we have had in B.C. to date that’s gone through the hearing process,” said Johner.
As part of the B.C. Securities Commission panel’s decision, Samji was also ordered to pay the commission $10.8 million, which is the difference between the monies deposited by investors and paid to other investors.
She is also banned from investor relations, trading and other financial activities “to be sure she’s not … in a position to raise money from anyone ever again, said Johner.
Samji is also facing 28 criminal charges of fraud and theft, relating to $17 million she allegedly defrauded from 14 victims, which is a portion of the overall scheme the B.C. Securities Commission uncovered.