Toronto Woman Charged with Immigration Fraud Targeting Filipino Community in Canada

A woman based in Toronto has been charged with immigration fraud that targeted the Filipino community, the Toronto Police Service reported.

Imelda Fronda Saluma, 46, has been charged with 11 counts of fraud over $5,000, nine counts of pass off wares/services, eight counts of fraud under $5,000, nine counts of obtaining money by false pretense, and one count each of making a false statement to procure a discount and making a document without authority.

In an investigation that began in October, authorities allege there are more than 500 people from six countries may have been defrauded by GoWest Jobs International, a recruitment agency specializing processing of immigrant workers, of more than $1.5 million (P53.39 million).

Police said workers were recruited from other countries for jobs available in Canada, and applicants paid for documents, references and employment contracts. A large number of applicants come from the Filipino community, the police said.

It added that applications were submitted to representative office in the applicant’s home country. However, entry of applicants to Canada was rejected as the documents and contracts submitted on their behalf were reportedly bogus. As a result, the applicants were banned from re-applying for two years.

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.

imelda_saluma“I’m really upset,” Aquino said. “They sell their house, their farm, they borrow money … with so much interest.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Toronto police at 416-808-3100, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).