TORONTO: Imelda Fronda Saluma arrested in immigration scam
Last Updated Thursday, February 5, 2015 6:51PM EST
Toronto police have arrested a woman in connection with their investigation of an immigration scam that allegedly defrauded hundreds of foreign applicants of more than $1.5 million.
Police said they began their investigation on GoWest Jobs International last October. GoWest, located near Keele Street and Finch Avenue West, claims to be a recruiting agency that deals with immigrant workers.
The suspect was “selling hope,” Det. Const. Erwin Mendoza told CTV Toronto on Thursday.
“Someone was proposing that, ‘Hey, if you go through me, I can get you to someplace to where you want to be or someplace better.”
Go West allegedly recruited applicants in foreign countries for jobs in Canada, requesting payment for documents, references and employment contracts, which would then be provided to the applicants.
But, police said, because the documents were fakes, the applicants would be denied entry to Canada. The applicants would also be banned from re-applying to enter Canada for two years.
Police allege that GoWest made more than $1.5 million in fees from over 500 applicants coming from six different countries. Many of the foreign applicants are of Filipino descent, police said.
One of the victims, 46-year-old personal support worker Agnes Aquino, claims her family in the Philippines gave more than $24,000 to GoWest.
“I’m really upset,” Aquino said. “They sell their house, their farm, they borrow money … with so much interest.”
Officers believe there may be more victims. Anyone with any information on this case is asked to contact police at 416-808-3100, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).
Imelda Fronda Saluma, 46, was arrested and appeared in court on Wednesday. She faces 39 different charges related to fraud and making fake documents.
CTV Toronto has learned that Saluma was also charged by Halton Regional Police last month and is facing two counts of fraud over $5,000.