A pair of men have been charged with fraud stemming from a scheme that allegedly targeted the Pakistani-Canadian community in Mississauga, Ont.
The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) announced that the two men — Mujahid Ali Syed and Sanjiv Katyal — have both been charged with securities fraud and trading without registration. Syed was also charged for distributing securities without a prospectus, and Katyal was charged for advising in securities without registration.
None of the allegations have been proven. The pair are scheduled to to appear in court on Feb. 7 in Brampton, Ont.
According to the OSC, “Syed, a former registrant, allegedly accepted approximately $2 million from Ontario investors, most of whom were Pakistani-Canadians, on the pretense that he would invest the funds and generate significant returns.”
However, the regulator alleged that investor funds were instead directed into Syed’s company, Global Marketing Inc., “and subsequently diverted for personal use by Syed and his family, withdrawn in cash or paid to Katyal for referring investors.”
The regulator alleged that Katyal referred potential investors to Syed after picking them out of the lineups at the bank where he worked as a branch manager.
“As alleged, Mr. Syed and Mr. Katyal preyed on the trust of vulnerable members of their community to raise funds for their fraudulent scheme by exploiting their shared cultural heritage and role as gatekeepers of the investment industry,” said Jeff Kehoe, director of enforcement at the OSC, in a release.
“The OSC will continue to pursue individuals who commit affinity frauds, as well as those who abuse the trust placed in them as registrants and are responsible for stopping this type of conduct,” he added.