Toronto-area residents face 37 charges in immigration fraud case

CBSA alleges Mississauga trio acted as unauthorized immigration consultants

The Canadian Press Posted: Jul 15, 2015 11:56 AM ET Last Updated: Jul 15, 2015 11:56 AM ET

Canada Border Services Agency says three Toronto-area residents face a total of 37 charges in an immigration fraud case. (CBC)

Three Toronto-area residents have been charged in an immigration fraud case by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).


They were charged with several offences under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Investigators allege Eliza Lazaro and Cecilia Bautista, also known as Cecilia Agtarap, acted as unauthorized immigration consultants, and provided false information to clients and government officials in order to obtain Canadian visas.

They also allege Lazaro’s husband, Bernabe Lazaro, assisted by providing false information in order to obtain visas.

CBSA alleges Eliza Lazaro has been operating as an unlicensed immigration consultant since 2009.


A total of 37 charges were laid in the case, including misrepresentation and human trafficking.

All three accused appeared in Brampton court last Wednesday.

Detecting marriage fraud in Canada called ‘racist and offensive’

Photograph by: Pat McGrath, Ottawa Citizen Mohamed Soumah, was by all accounts deported back to his native country of Guinea in West Africa. He had walked out on his 2007 marriage to Towell three weeks after uttering his wedding vows

May 20, 2015 | Vote 0   0

Liars or in love? Detecting marriage fraud in Canada called ‘racist and offensive’

Red flags include Chinese marrying non-Chinese, small wedding receptions, an uneducated Canadian with a low-paying job or on welfare trying to sponsor a foreign spouse

Hamilton Spectator

Sean Saulnier married his Brazilian wife in their backyard last May. They didn’t kiss on the lips for photos. There was no diamond ring and no family in attendance.

According to a leaked training guide meant to help immigration officials detect marriage fraud, the Victoria, B.C., couple’s marriage would have raised a bunch of red flags as a “non-genuine” relationship.

The three-page training guide, titled “Evidence of Relationship,” lists clues officers should look for in assessing a spousal sponsorship application. Ostensible warning signs that it’s a sham marriage include: couples who are not depicted kissing on the lips in their wedding photos; university-educated Chinese nationals who marry non-Chinese; a small wedding reception in a restaurant; a Canadian sponsor who is relatively uneducated, with a low-paying job or on welfare.

Other red flags include couples who don’t take a honeymoon trip, perhaps because they were students or lack the financial resources to do so; no diamond ring; and photos of activities together taken in Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Toronto.

The training material, obtained under an access to information request and posted online by immigration lawyer Steven Meurrens, has created an uproar on social media among some Canadians and their foreign-born spouses.

“We all thought it was a joke. There’s no way this was real. Then we found out the guide was real and it was like, ‘Oh, my God, this is discriminatory. It’s against the Charter,’” said Saulnier, 37, who met his wife, Juliana, 35, while she was studying English in Toronto in 2011.

“I was born in Canada. This is racist and offensive. I’m just floored that this is accepted as criteria Immigration uses in judging the validity of my relationship,” added the software executive, whose wife is among thousands of foreign spouses waiting for long periods — the current average is 26 months — to be granted permanent residency.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada denied that the training material was racist and insisted all spousal applications from around the world are assessed equally, against exactly the same criteria, regardless of country of origin.

EDMONTON: Indo-Canadian community and recent immigrants targets of immigration scam

‘I suspect a lot of people would give out the money to these people’

CBC News Posted: May 08, 2015 2:57 PM MT Last Updated: May 08, 2015 7:52 PM MT

Vasant Choati got a call Thursday from a scammer claiming to be with Immigration Canada.Vasant Choati got a call Thursday from a scammer claiming to be with Immigration Canada. (CBC)

Vasant Chotai got a scary phone call on Thursday.

It was a long distance call, and when he answered the caller knew his name and address, and knew he was an immigrant.

The caller told Chotai he was from Immigration Canada, and said he would put his “supervisor” on the line.

“He told me the government was reviewing files of all the immigrants for the last 60 years,” Chotai said, “and they’re looking at any discrepancies in the files.”

He was told he hadn’t provided his “permanent resident” number to the embassy in Kenya, back when he moved here in 1970. He was told the call was being recorded, and anything he said could be used against him in court.

The “supervisor” said there were two ways to solve the problem. He could either send the RCMP to the door in 45 minutes, or Chotai could give them his “PR” number and pay a penalty.

“It felt a little bit scary,” Chotai said. But he quickly realized it was a scam.

Edmonton police say several members of city’s Indo-Canadian community, and other recent immigrants, have been targets of the same scam, which threatens people with deportation if they don’t hand over thousands of dollars.

Police have received numerous reports about the scam, which appears to have started in April.

TORONTO: Former immigration consultant Nageshwar Rao Yendamuri faces 88 immigration fraud charges

 Kendra Mangione, Writer

Published Friday, April 10, 2015 12:32PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, April 10, 2015 12:53PM EDT

A Toronto man is facing 88 charges in connection with a months-long immigration fraud investigation.

Nageshwar Rao Yendamuri, a regulated immigration consultant, was charged at the end of a 14-month investigation into his conduct, the Canada Border Services Agency said in a statement Friday.

Yendamuri worked as a consultant with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council, the national regulatory authority designated by the Government of Canada.

The ICCRC is meant to safeguard those who seek Canadian immigration advice and representation, the website says.

All immigration consultants — working in Canada or abroad — who provide Canadian immigration services for a fee must be registered with the ICCRC.


Yendamuri is accused of submitting multiple immigration applications on behalf of religious workers for temporary resident visas, visitor extensions and visitor status restoration. Border agents allege he supported the documents with forged and/or fabricated documents.

He is currently out on bail with a $100,000 bond and several conditions, including that he not have contact with any witnesses who will be called to testify against him, and that he not conduct any immigration-related work.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with more information, or details on any other suspicious cross-border activity, is asked to call the CBSA at 1-888-502-9060. All calls are confidential.

TORONTO: Imelda Fronda Saluma arrested in immigration scam

CTV Toronto
Published Thursday, February 5, 2015 8:00AM EST
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.

GTA: Marek Albinowski, Wladyslaw Pipient and Robert Fitzsimmons charged with human smuggling

Charges laid after Polish nationals smuggled into U.S. through Ontario

The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, December 2, 2014 5:08PM EST

CORNWALL, Ont. — Three Ontario residents have been charged with human smuggling after RCMP say Polish nationals were illicitly transported into the United States through a First Nation near Cornwall.

The Mounties say their probe began eight months ago, after U.S. authorities discovered three people from Poland there illegally.

It’s alleged the three accused would meet Polish nationals at Toronto’s Pearson airport or Trudeau International Airport in Montreal and then drive them to Akwesasne Mohawk Territory.

RCMP say they would then enter the U.S.

Sixty-five-year-old Marek Albinowski of Toronto, 69-year-old Wladyslaw Pipient of Markham, and 58-year-old Robert Fitzsimmons of Cornwall are charged with smuggling-related offences, while Albinowski also faces one count of possession of property obtained by crime

They were due in court on Tuesday.

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