Pinay Nabbed, Charged in Canada over $1.5-M Recruitment Scam

A Filipina was arrested and charged in Canada for allegedly duping more than $1.5 million from job applicants, including Filipinos, through her recruitment agency, reports said.

The Filipina, identified as Imelda Fronda Saluma, owner of GoWest Jobs International, was arrested and charged on Wednesday, according to CBC News.

She is charged with 39 offenses, including 11 counts of fraud over $5,000; nine counts of passing off wares or services; eight counts of fraud under $5000; and nine counts of obtaining money by false pretense, according to Global News Canada.

A separate report on CTV Toronto said Saluma was previously charged by Halton Regional Police in January for two counts of fraud over $5,000.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) has barred GoWest International from recruiting Filipinos as early as 2013 for “gross violation of Philippine overseas employment laws.”


Citing the police, the CBC News report said GoWest International took payments from foreign applicants, many of them Filipinos, to produce fraudulent documents, references and employment contracts.

These materials were then supposedly submitted to foreign government agencies to create the appearance that all the necessary paperwork was in order.

When the applicants tried to follow up, however, they were denied entry to Canada because of the false documentation submitted on their behalf.

Selling hope

Det. Const. Erwin Mendoza told CTV Toronto that Saluma “was selling hope” by offering victims “someplace better” by going through the immigration process with her.

Another victim, a personal support worker, claimed her family sold their belongings and property to pay $24,000 to GoWest.

Police are requesting victims or anyone with information to come forward and contact them at 416-808-3100, the CTV Toronto report said.

They may also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477.

History of complaints and online backlash

Hundreds of Saluma’s alleged victims have been posting their complaints against the recruiter since 2011 on immigration forum Canada Visa.

(Source: Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News)

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