A Toronto woman whose clients claim she bilked them out of tens of thousands of dollars — on the promise she’d help their relatives immigrate to Canada — has been arrested.
Angela Codina faces five charges under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, including representing clients and giving them advice without being a lawyer or certified immigration consultant.
Mohammad Khadampour says he paid Codina $10,000 three years ago to help secure permanent residency for his sister. But 10 months later, he says he saw the application still sitting on Codina's desk.
“It was clear she was doing nothing,” Khadampour told CBC News.
Another former client and her son say they paid Codina $15,000 to bring two relatives from Iran.
“And then after, I didn't hear anything,” said Azar Salem.
Codina has bilked clients in the past. She was convicted of grand larceny in New York in 2000 and sentenced to a minimum of nine years in prison. In 2002, she was disbarred by the Law Society of Upper Canada after defrauding Ontario's legal aid plan of $20,000.
CBC News has learned dozens of Codina's clients have taken her to small claims court and won, though she has not paid up. Her website indicates offices across Canada and abroad.
She remains in custody pending a bail hearing on Monday.