‘It may go unnoticed’: Why Canada is ripe for immigration scams

One of the more recent scams to have emerged but no indication that any of the fraudulent applications resulted in the granting of permanent residency (and story doesn’t answer the headline question):

Imagine that your business name is used as bait to scam foreign workers hoping to come to Canada or that your stolen personal identity is used as the contact for the scheme.

It is happening to some of Canada’s best-known companies, including Bell Canada, Via Rail, Scotiabank and Bombardier and to a Montreal businessman, CBC News has learned.
Those companies and the Montreal man were unaware that someone had used them as a front to defraud foreign job seekers out of thousands of dollars until CBC News told them.

“This is the first we have heard of Giant Tiger being mentioned in this capacity,” said Alison Scarlett, manager of brand communications for Giant Tiger Stores Ltd.

“We are absolutely appalled that our trusted name would be used in such a scheme.”

The CBC investigation began after hearing from two Canadians whose family members were trying to immigrate to Canada from India.

The relatives in India were working through a contact who claimed to be a lawyer named Daniel Philip Bornstein and who would help them obtain a Canadian job and documentation.

Once offered a job in this country, the prospective immigrants would pay a fee. The catch: the job offers turned out to be bogus.

How the scheme worked

The lawyer claiming to be Daniel Philip Bornstein approached a third party consultant in India who had clients wishing to immigrate to Canada.
Documents obtained from the Indian consultant show that he then provided job postings from a number of Quebec-based companies, including SNC Lavalin, Via Rail, Golder Associates, Siemens Canada, Scotiabank, Bell, Brookfield Global, Giant Tiger, Systemex Automation and Bombardier. The job postings all appeared to be real positions from the companies’ websites.

Bell Bombardier

Companies such as Bell, Bombardier and Scotiabank were unaware their names had been used in the immigration scheme. (Shutterstock)

He would then arrange a phone interview with someone he said was a company representative. Applicants would then receive a job offer letter and contract, often using the company’s real logo and contact details.
Once the contracts were signed, he provided them with what looked like government documents including visas and Labour Market Impact Assessments.
The clients would pay more than $3,000 by transferring money through a pre-arranged bank account or online money transfer site.

The real Daniel Bornstein

To establish his credibility, the fraudster told prospective victims that he is a lawyer registered with the Law Society of Upper Canada with no complaints against him.
A quick search of the law society online database does list information for a Daniel Philip Bornstein and does show no complaints.

There is no current contact information or company association listed, making it harder for clients to verify his identity and making it easier for anyone to just use that name.

CBC News tracked down the real Daniel Bornstein, who confirmed that he is registered with the law society and spent two years practising tax and estate law in Montreal but is now a partner at a linen supply company.

He said had no idea his name was being used for fraudulent activity and found it “very alarming” to know that his name could be easily lifted from a legal directory.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre confirmed that it received three separate complaints against someone named Daniel Philip Bornstein dating back to 2012 from Nepal, Kazakhstan and Singapore.

CBC tried repeatedly to contact the man claiming to be Daniel Bornstein, however, the Montreal business address he provided to the clients was not valid and no one answers at the phone number he listed.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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