Following the Fraud Trail
By Tim Carlson
I've now been working for over two years on Victim Impact, having interviewed some three-dozen people, attended numerous court hearings, and enthusiastically read a foot-high stack of documents multiple times. All of this to get some sense of the tangled mess left in the wake of Rashida Samji's Ponzi scheme.
Now all I have to do is read another foot-high stack of documents and interview another three dozen people. That might get me an inch or two closer to comprehension. Or just raise new, more complicated, questions.
The release of Victim Impact: The Fraudcast – today is a first crack at laying out a basic sense of the situation. Samji's the face of case. But it took so many people, institutions and specific conditions for the swindle to work so well, for so long. And another set of conditions for the fallout to play out the way it has since the scam was exposed in 2012. We’ll go deep into the victims’ experience, follow the money and investigate some mysterious angles.
Anger, hurt and frustration is palpable in the voices you'll hear. A sense of absurdity echoes through the story. There's also an impressive level of expertise: from those defrauded to the lawyers, judges, accountants and journalists involved.
A complicating factor is the amount of compassion and emotional wisdom that's in the air. Everything was far more clear at the beginning of the project when I was far more cynical.
Who is a victim? What is a criminal? What moral profile or social conditions push someone into either category? How can any legal or regulatory system hope to deal with the problem of humans? Can we answer those questions for listeners by Episode 7?
Victim Impact: The Fraudcast is the brainchild of Kathleen Flaherty at Playwrights Theatre Centre. A former CBC drama and documentary producer, she's a research junkie who actually loves transcribing interviews and always has her finger on the pulse of the story. Co-producer, recording engineer and music composer David Mesiha always pushes for higher quality. A special thanks to researcher Gavan Cheema and communications wiz Belinda Bruce for their expertise in casting this fraudpod forward. It’s a great pleasure to work with all of these talents as we move toward the premiere of the play Victim Impact at The Cultch in June 2018.
Please consider supporting Theatre Conspiracy and the Victim Impact project here with a donation large or small.