VANCOUVER, B.C. - A notary public and a financial planner took in $83 million in an 8-year Ponzi scheme, the British Columbia Securities Commission claims in B.C. Supreme Court.
The commission sued Samji & Assoc. Holdings and Arvindbhai Bakorbhai Patel, claiming they took $83 million from about 200 investors and made about $63 million in Ponzi payments. Rashida Samji is the sole officer, director and shareholder of Samji & Assoc.'s, according to the commission's complaint.
Reporting on the lawsuit Wednesday, The Vancouver Sun said Samji promised investors 6 percent to 30 percent annual returns on "secure investment" in a winery. Patel, known as Arvin Patel, formerly a financial planner with Coast Capital Savings Credit Union, "admitted he introduced about 90 of those investors to the scheme. Collectively, they accounted for $28.9 million of the total amount raised," the Sun reported. It added that Patel reached a settlement with the commission, agreeing to be banned permanently to the British Columbia securities market.
In its complaint, the commission asked for a receiver to be appointed over the defendants' assets.
In March, clients sued the credit union, Samji and Patel in a class action, over the alleged Ponzi scheme. They claim they were duped by Samji and Patel into investing in a venture involving the Mark Anthony Group, which owns a winery in British Columbia.
But the clients say in their complaint that the Mark Anthony Group had nothing to do with the defendants, and that Samji deposited their money into her own account instead of a trust account.
The Mark Anthony Group is not a party to any of the litigation.
"In reality, there was no legitimate investment opportunity," the class action states.
The Securities has frozen Samji and Patel's assets and registered liens against several properties.
The Vancouver Sun reported on March 23 that both Patel and Samji have retained high-profile Vancouver securities lawyers.
William L. Roberts of Lawson Lundell filed the receivership petition for the securities commission.
The investment fraud class action was filed by Paul R. Bennett of Hordo & Bennett.
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