BCSC Executive Director’s Bulletin: Securities regulator alleges that former notary public committed $83 million fraud
Vancouver – The executive director of the British Columbia Securities Commission has issued a notice of hearing alleging that a Vancouver woman and two companies she controls committed a fraud that raised about $83 million from 218 investors.
The notice alleges that Rashida Samji, a former notary public, offered what she claimed was a “secure investment” to investors between approximately 2003 and January 2012.
The executive director says that Samji told investors that:
- their money would be safely held in her notary trust account, and would not be paid out to any party.
- her trust account was monitored and audited by the Society of Notaries Public of British Columbia.
- she would provide a B.C. winery, the Mark Anthony Group Inc, and other wineries with a comfort letter, which would allow the wineries to use the funds as collateral for loans in foreign countries.
- investors would receive a fee of between 12% and 30% annually in return for putting their money “in trust” with Samji.
The executive director alleges that all of these claims were false. In reality, Samji had no notary trust account. She deposited investors’ money into two personal bank accounts in the name of her two companies, Rashida Samji Notary Corporation and Samji & Assoc. Holdings Inc. She did not provide letters of comfort to any wineries, and she paid existing investors with money from new investors under the guise of investment fees.
The executive director is also alleging that Samji falsified documents and created a false land title search as part of a fraudulent mortgage.
Samji became a notary public in 1988. In 1995, she began running her notary practice through her Notary Corporation. In 2006, she became a “roving notary” whose practice was limited to covering the practices of other notaries due to illness or vacation.
The Society of Notaries Public of B.C. suspended Samji on February 7, and obtained a court order appointing a custodian over Samji’s practice on February 8. She subsequently submitted her resignation on March 6, 2012.
The allegations in the notice of hearing have not been proven. Counsel for the executive director will apply to set dates for a hearing into the allegations before a panel of commissioners on May 1, 2012 at 9:00am.
The B.C. Securities Commission is the independent provincial government agency responsible for regulating trading in securities within the province. You may view the notice of hearing on our website www.bcsc.bc.ca by typing Rashida Samji or 2012 BCSECCOM 107 in the search box. Information regarding disciplinary proceedings can be found in the Enforcement section of the BCSC website.
Please visit the Canadian Securities Administrators’ Disciplined Persons List for information relating to persons disciplined by provincial securities regulators, the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Mutual Fund Dealers Association (MFDA).
For media inquiries, contact Richard Gilhooley, media relations, 604-899-6713. For public inquiries, call 604-899-6854 or 1-800-373-6393 (toll free).
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