British Columbia·Updated

Ponzi schemer Rashida Samji sentenced to 6 years in prison

A B.C. woman has been sentenced to six years in prison for running a $110 million Ponzi scheme.

Rashida Samji ran a $110M fake investment scheme defrauding nearly 300 investors

Rashida Samji was found guilty of running a $110 million Ponzi scheme in June of 2016. (CBC)

A B.C. woman has been sentenced to six years in prison for running a $110 million Ponzi scheme. 

Rashida Samji was found guilty on 14 counts of fraud relating to 284 named investors and companies who were led to believe their money was being invested in a winery's planned expansion to South Africa and South America.

"She knew exactly what she was doing and went forward with eyes wide open," said  provincial court judge Gregory Rideout.

Rideout also said Samji used her victims' money to live the kind of comfortable lifestyle she could no longer afford.

Samji hooked investors by promising steady, secure returns of up to 12 per cent. In reality, money from new investors was used to pay dividends to old ones.

The 63-year-old was also ordered to pay restitution of more than $10 million to victims. She is also facing a $33-million fine previously ordered by the B.C. Securities Commission.

Within hours of being sentenced, Samji's defence team filed a notice of appeal in relation to the ruling which resulted in her conviction.

In the original decision, Rideout said hitting Samji with both criminal prosecution and securities commission sanctions didn't amount to double jeopardy.

Samji was granted bail on a surety of $100,000.