This Woman Bilked Millions From Prospective Filipino Immigrants
As recently reported by the Toronto Star, a woman has been charged with carrying out a massive immigration scam that has conned millions out of prospective Filipino immigrants.
At first glance, Imelda ‘Mel’ Fronda Saluma, 46, was a Toronto-based woman that was helping people achieve their dream of living and working in Canada. In reality, it was an immigration scam carried out on a mass scale, bilking over $2.3 million from around 600 prospective Filipino immigrants.
But how did she pull it off?
A Hefty Price Tag
Saluma’s immigration scam meant she was charging up to $5,000 per person; $1,500 to be matched with a job, $2,000 for an employment contract and positive government labour market opinion (LMO), and a final $1,500 upon the receipt of a work visa.
But thanks to Saluma, hundreds of victims were left stranded around the world with none of the papers they needed, and no money. Others were unfortunate enough to be rejected by Immigration Canada and were banned from reapplying for two years.
But why would you pay such large amounts of money to a woman you don’t know?
The Filipino community is particularly close-knit, and word gets around fast. To make matters worse, many put their trust in Saluma because she was a Filipino, just like them.
Mother of four Saluma was first charged back in February, but more fraud-related offences were added earlier this month. She’s facing 73 charges including “allegedly selling forged employment documents to foreigners so they could apply to come to Canada as temporary foreign workers”.
The investigation is ongoing, and police claim they have yet to uncover the full extent of Saluma’s immigration scam, which she ran via GoWest Jobs International located on Finch Ave. West. Saluma also employed one member of staff: Rose Fabe Walters.
Taken Advantage Of
Can you imagine how some of Saluma’s victims must feel? Well, you don’t have to, as the Toronto Star spoke to one woman in particular who fell foul of the scam.
Having lost around $24,500 to Saluma, Agnes Aquino claims she paid Saluma in order to bring her brother and other relatives over to the country back in August 2012, having first come to Canada as a live-in caregiver in 2001.
Aquino said: “Even though we always had to pay in cash, we didn’t suspect anything. We all came from the Philippines. We had this blind faith and trusted they also wanted to help others to come here.”
She continued: “I was trying to help my relatives. They remitted me the money and I paid Rose (Walters). My relatives are angry at me and blame it on me. I don’t trust anyone anymore, even when I really want to help.”
Rose Grey, who helped Saluma recruit clients, claims she was provided with documents promising jobs for immigrants at McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Holiday Inn. She was paid $150 commission for every Filipino recruited.
She said: “She convinced me and I convinced my people.”
Trust REAL Professionals When Immigrating
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About Michael Niren
Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more
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