Vancouver notary accused in $83M Ponzi scheme



VANCOUVER - A Vancouver woman has been served with a notice of hearing in connection to an $83-million Ponzi scheme involving 218 duped investors.

Notary Rashida Samji was suspended from practising by the Society of Notaries Public in February. She handed in her resignation at one of her companies, Rashida Samji Notary Corp., a month later, according to the BC Securities Commission.

Samji or her lawyers are expected to appear at a downtown hearing May 1.

Paul Bourque, executive director of the BCSC, alleged investors were promised between 12% to 30% annual returns in what was claimed as a "secure investment" between 2003 and January this year.

Investors were told "their money would be safely held in (a) notary trust account, and would not be paid out to any party," Bourque said in a statement.

He said investors were also promised the trust account was legally monitored and audited, and that the money would be used by several wineries "to use the funds as collateral for loans in foreign countries."

The BCSC said all of the promises were false, and the cash was instead deposited into two personal bank accounts involved in the scheme.

The wineries were also unaware of the transactions.
At the same time, Arvindbhai Bakorbhai Patel, a former Coast Capital Savings employee, admitted he directed about 90 investors to the scheme. He received a permanent market ban in BC.

"Many of the investors were Patel's family, co-workers, and Coast Capital clients. Collectively, they invested approximately $28.9 million, of which a substantial portion is now lost," the BCSC said Wednesday.

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