York Regional Police (Ontario) Ask For Assistance In Ponzi Case Allegedly Involving Salim Damji And Female Accomplice

Salim Damji. Source: XX

Salim Damji. Source: York Regional Police Major Fraud Unit

The York Regional Police Major Fraud Unit in Ontario, Canada, has arrested Salim Damji and a female accomplice in an alleged “romance and investment Ponzi scheme” that fleeced at least eight victims out of about $400,000.

Damji, 45, allegedly uses multiple names. Police have released a photo of him and have asked the public for assistance in the probe “as investigators believe victims may recognize his image as he was known to use various aliases.”

The aliases include Sal Palermo, Sal Darsee, Santos Palermo, Rico Palermo and Santos Salvatore, police said.

His female accomplice was identified by police as Tatiana Krainova, 39, of Whitchurch-Stouffville. Damji allegedly resided in the same town. Damji and Krainova were arrested Monday at the same residence in Whitchurch-Stouffville.

From a statement by police (italics added):

In April 2014, the York Regional Police Major Fraud Unit became aware of a suspect who had befriended a victim at a bar in Aurora. After several meetings with the victim, the suspect convinced her that if she invested money with him, he could generate significant short-term returns on those investments. The victim agreed and gave the suspect more than $50,000 which was transferred into various accounts the suspect provided.

It is believed the suspect used portions of funds collected from victims to pay other victims smaller amounts of money to show return on their investments with him. As the investigation continued, seven additional victims were identified who had all in vested similar amounts of money.

In these cases, once the money had been sent by cheque, cash or wire transfer, the suspect could no longer be reached. The investigation also revealed that the suspect was working with a female accomplice who was assisting the suspect with accepting funds from victims and depositing the funds into various accounts. She would then transfer portions of those funds back to the suspect.

Damji is charged with Fraud Over $5,000, Public Laundering Proceeds of Crime and False Pretence. Krainova is charged with the same offenses.

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