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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

BCSC rules Vancouver woman tricked investors out of at least $100 million

VANCOUVER - The British Columbia Securities Commission has ruled that a Vancouver woman tricked about 200 investors out of at least $100 million over several years.

It says that Rashida Samji lied when she told the investors that their money would be put in a separate trust fund used by her notary practice and earn interest while indirectly assisting a winery to raise funds.

Instead, the BCSC found that there was no winery, that Samji never deposited the money into the trust account and that she used the money to pay the investors interest and for her own purposes — a type of fraud known as a Ponzi scheme.

A panel of BCSC commissioners found, however, that there was insufficient evidence to support allegations that Samji had also sold false mortgages to two investors.

The panel came to its conclusions after hearings held in November, December and March. The BCSC will decide on penalties later.

Samji also faces criminal charges filed by police in November and a class action civil suit that was certified in September by the B.C. Superior Court.

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