Why This Story Now?
Theatre Conspiracy received a lot of reaction to the pilot episode of Victim Impact: The Fraudcast – from listeners, victims, lawyers and journalists involved in the case.
But one response on Twitter asked that salient question that should come at the beginning of any theatrical or journalistic endeavour: "Why this story, now?"
Here are just three points that come immediately to mind for me:
• SAMJI'S SCAM COULD BE A PRECEDENT-SETTING CASE: She has applied to the Supreme Court of Canada to appeal her criminal conviction. The argument is that because the B.C. Securities Commission fined her $33 million, the criminal charges constitute double jeopardy (being tried for the same crime twice). It's probably a long-shot. Both BC Provincial Court and Appeal Court gave the argument a big thumbs-down. But if her argument prevailed, the precedent could serve the interests of any white-collar criminal wanting to duck criminal charges because they've been sanctioned first by a securities commission.
• FRAUD SCHEMES ARE A VANCOUVER BOOM INDUSTRY: It's not just Ponzi schemes but real estate and casinos etc etc. The Rashida Samji scam is part of a systemic pattern. And it's a case study in how fraud can happen in even an institutional environment. Samji was a licensed notary public, Arvin Patel was an investment advisor at Coast Capital. They weren't running this scheme out of a boiler room. It's a lesson in being suspicious of anyone at your bank, church, community club or even family members who are hyping investments with "guaranteed high-interest rates." Check out this more recent example in North Vancouver.
• OVER 200 PEOPLE WERE RIPPED OFF: The scheme came to light in 2012 but the pain, anger, confusion and distrust remains. The fallout for those victims and their families represents thousands of people intimately affected. The podcast and theatre production are, potentially, something of a forum to let off some pressure.
Long story short – the Samji scheme is a story that's still very much alive in our community and its effects are protracting.
This isn't yesterday's news.
— Tim Carlson