In January 2018, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) received a tip from Winnipeg Police Service that a man was producing forged and fraudulent permanent residency papers, which he was then selling to international university students in Saskatoon as well as across Canada.
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Following the tip, CBSA launched a formal investigation into then, 23 year old, Panashe Chaya’s alleged fraudulent activities. On April 26 2018 based on information gathered from the investigation, the young man’s home was searched.
Shortly after that, on July 25 2018, formal charges of producing and distributing forged immigration documents, were brought against Chaya. Three counts under the Canadian Criminal Code and three counts under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA).
While the University of Saskatchewan declined to comment on whether Chaya was a student at the university, it has cooperated fully during the investigation with the CBSA. The university’s vice-provost of teaching, learning and student experience, Patti McDougall has also stated they are doing everything they can to make sure these kinds of criminal activities never occur again.
CBSA’s assistant regional director-general for the Prairie region, Nina Patel said, “Canada’s diversity and welcoming of newcomers is part of its national identity, but unfortunately there are those who would exploit our generosity to make a profit. By enforcing the law and cracking down on fraud, the CBSA is preserving the integrity of our immigration system.”
Earlier this summer, on June 4 2020, Chaya pleaded guilty to defrauding the University of Saskatchewan and other individuals for an amount of over $5,000, to making and selling false documents and for not complying with an appearance notice. He also pleaded guilty to one IRPA charge: knowingly dealing in a document, of Canadian or foreign origin, that purports to establish or could be used to establish a person’s identity.
As part of his plea agreement, all other charges against Panashe Chaya were stayed. His guilty plea resulted in a prison sentence of two years and seven days.
The CBSA takes immigration fraud very seriously and works closely with its partners to identify, investigate, and prosecute those engaging in immigration fraud to the full extent of the law.Canada Border Service Agency
To sum up
Unfortunately, immigration scams and schemes are quite common and international students unfamiliar with the laws and regulations of Canadian immigration may be susceptible to fraud. If you are an international student, take the time to understand the immigration process. You should only trust and take advice from official government of Canada sites and employees or from a professional Regulated Canadian Immigrant Consultant (RCIC).
If something seems too good to be true, it likely is! So do your due diligence and know your rights so you don’t become a victim of the next Panashe Chaya.