Facing between 4 to 8 in years in jail, the woman behind the largest Ponzi scheme in B.C history apologized. Rashida Samji shares that this isn’t where she wanted to be and that there is no right way to do wrong.
More than 200 investors were cheated out of their savings in a $110 million fraud that was masterminded by the Magic Woman Rashida Samji. She seems to have fully understood the depth of her deceit and said in a statement that she is haunted night and day by the thought that there is no right way to do wrong. Her statement was delivered in front of a judge as she croaked out the words in a voice that was shaking with emotion.
Samji further added that she is truly sorry for the loss, pain, and grief endured by the investors and that the clocks cannot be turned back. The people wants a prison term of 7 to 8 years but defence is aiming for just 4 to 5.
The Magic Woman
Rashida Samji is known to love fashion and jewelry, being a prominent figure in the South Asian community of Vancouver. As of this writing, she was found guilty of 14 counts of fraud of the 284 named companies and investors who invested money in her Ponzi scheme. 14 separated counts of theft were named by the judge at the outset of the proceedings for sentencing.
The investors shared that they were providing money thinking that it would serve as a collateral for a winery’s expansion plans into South America and South Africa. The investors were lead to believe that Samji will keep the cash in her trust account and they trusted her, being a notary public. Her scheme was uncovered in January 2012.
Samji tried to commit suicide after the discovery of her Ponzi scheme and freezing of accounts. It’s just that she has been resuscitated after she overdosed on sleeping pills. Her lawyer, Richard Peck, explained her crimes as the product of the stress of being diagnosed with breast cancer, having depression, and being in debt. Her argues that there must be a reason why an ordinary citizen such as his client will get involved in a Ponzi scheme. Peck painted a picture of Samji’s life from her humble beginnings in Uganda, her family’s forced exile to Canada, to being a divorced single mother in Vancouver.
At the time when Samji started her Ponzi scheme, she had recently undergone mastectomy and has had 13 procedures to reconstruct her breast after the cancer nodules were removed. Doctors have recently detected another nodule in Samji’s lung.
With all that Samji has been going through, Crown counsel Kevin Mark has turned to reading the impact statements by Samji’s victims. Some people who have known Samji personally and considered her as a lifelong friend. One said that her self-esteem has gone and she felt as though she’s a failure. Another said she felt cheated. Others chimed in that they felt humiliated after being so gullible. Majority of the victims mentioned stress, developing a chronic illness and feeling depressed as a result of falling victim to Samji’s scheme.
This case is certainly a play of human emotions, intentions, and circumstances. Circumstances that could have been avoided with due diligence or could have been uncovered sooner if it was investigated earlier.
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