Lawsuits allege Brampton PC candidate defrauded would-be immigrants
Immigration consultant Ripudaman Dhillon is running for PCs in Brampton North
A Progressive Conservative candidate in Thursday's provincial election allegedly defrauded tens of thousands of dollars from clients of his immigration consulting firm, court documents reveal.
CBC News has obtained copies of four current lawsuits against Ripudaman Dhillon, PC candidate in Brampton North, and his Mississauga-based company, ICC Canada Immigration Solutions.
The allegations in the documents include that Dhillon and his firm "unjustly" took money from the clients and misrepresented the immigration services they would provide.
Aside from the four lawsuits, CBC News has interviewed three other Dhillon clients who make similar allegations.
Dhillon's candidacy was approved by the PC party after Doug Ford became party leader in March. He won the nomination in late April.
Ford denied any knowledge of Dhillon's legal troubles when asked by a reporter on the weekend.
"It's actually the first time I've heard of that. But I'm proud of our team," Ford said at an event in Nepean. "I'm proud of every single person on our team."
CBC News obtained copies of four active lawsuits against the firm and Dhillon, who also does business under the name Ripudaman Singh. All the cases were filed in Brampton within the past 10 months. Each plaintiff has different legal representation. All the suits allege that Dhillon's firm asked for several thousand dollars in fees in advance but failed to provide the promised immigration services.
- Ram Krishnan Mahay of Mississauga is asking for $14,500 in damages, claiming breach of contract, unjust enrichment and fraudulent misrepresentation.
- Muhammad Kausar Ahmad of Mississauga is seeking $24,000 in damages
- Chandulal Patel of Brampton is suing the firm for $11,640
- Naunihal Kalkat of Brampton is claiming $7,000
None of the claims have been proven in court, and lawyers for Dhillon's firm have filed statements of defence disputing all the allegations.
In three of the lawsuits, the defence statement admits that some money is owed to plaintiffs. Two of the four cases have a settlement trial date, including one on June 20.
Dhillon has not responded to attempts by CBC News to ask him for comment.
Kalkat's suit includes emails that show Dhillon's firm agreed to reimburse him $4,000 if he withdrew his complaint with the industry's ethics body, the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council.
Documents show the council's complaints committee found sufficient evidence that Dhillon may have violated its code of professional ethics in Kalkat's case. It referred the case to its discipline committee in 2016.
"The matter is still under review and pending for decision with (the regulatory council)," the company acknowledges in its statement of defence. "The plaintiff does not want to wait for the process ... and wants refund of amount paid to the defendants."
In Mahay's statement of claim, he says he paid the company $14,500 to help obtain Canadian work permits for two Indian nationals as skilled immigrants. The lawsuit alleges that all the firm did was obtain a certificate or qualification from the Alberta governments industry training system, which are not work permits.
"The plaintiff paid ICC to obtain work permits for the Applicants," say the legal documents, filed in Superior Court in Brampton. "Indeed, ICC provided no immigration services to the plaintiff at all."
In separate interviews with CBC News, three other clients of Dhillon's firm allege they paid up front for immigration services that were never provided.
Balwinder Cheema of Barrie said he heard about Dhillon's firm through radio advertisements. He hired ICC to help a friend in India apply for immigration, back in 2013, and said the company asked for $5,000 up front.
"I gave him money from my Visa card," said Cheema, who showed CBC Toronto the credit card statement. "They said, 'We start a file today. In 11 months your friend will be here.'"
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After that time frame passed, Cheema said staff of the immigration consulting firm kept telling him they were working in the file, but needed more time.
"After 18, 19 months, I call him again, say, 'If you do nothing, give my money back,'" Cheema said. "They said, 'No, no, no, we are working on your file. Give us $5,000 more.'"
Cheema says he halted the process and asked for his money back, but the firm has not returned his fee. "They did not do anything. They still owe me $5,000."
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