Photograph taken in 2005
31 October 1970 |
|Other names||Omid Roshan, Omid Roushan, "Nino"|
|Criminal charge||Wire fraud, mail fraud, telemarketing fraud, aiding and abetting
(2003, U.S. nationwide)
|Criminal penalty||11 years in imprisonment (2007, Canada)|
|Criminal status||At large|
|Conviction(s)||Kidnapping, sexual assault
Omid Tahvili, (born on 31 October 1970, in Tehran, Iran,) is an Iranian - Canadian ex gangster who is the kingpin of an organized crime family in Canada which is connected to various international crime organizations. In April 2008, Forbes.com, after consulting with law enforcement agencies around the world, listed him as one of the world's ten most wanted fugitives.
According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Tahvili came to Canada from Iran in 1994. In November 2000, he was arrested with his brother-in-law for possession of 3 kilograms (6.6 lb) of cocaine, in a joint operation between the Vancouver Police and the RCMP. Tahvili was found not guilty. By 2003, the RCMP recognized Tahvili as heading up one of the main criminal organizations operating out of an Iranian community in Canada. At that time, dozens of Iranian expatriates were working under him.
From 1999 to 2002, he ran a fraudulent telemarketing business that targeted people in the United States, stealing approximately US$3 million from hundreds of victims, most of them elderly. A federal arrest warrant was issued for Tahvili on January 30, 2003 by the U.S. District Court, Central District of California, where he was charged with mail fraud, wire fraud, telemarketing fraud and aiding and abetting.
Tahvili was arrested in British Columbia on an extradition warrant and Tahvili was eventually ordered extradited to the United States of America by the British Columbia Supreme Court on May 4, 2007. Tahvili had been represented by Canadian criminal and extradition lawyer Amandeep Singh, know for his representation of high profile and controversial international clientele such as billionaire banker fugitive Rakesh Saxena. Tahvili appealed his extradition order to the British Columbia Court of Appeal and was awaiting his appeal when he absconded from the pre-trial facility where he was held. 
Escape and conviction
In 2005, Tahvili discovered that C$300,000 of his organization's drug money had gone missing, and suspected that a courier who had worked for him stole it and fled to Vietnam. Tahvili kidnapped the man's brother-in-law, sexually assaulted him, and interrogated him over several hours. The man was eventually let go and Tahvili was arrested soon after. Since July 2005, Tahvili had awaited trial in the maximum-security North Fraser Pretrial Centre in British Columbia until he escaped in November 2007 after bribing a security guard named Edwin Ticne. A closed circuit television video showed Tahvili leaving the Pretrial Centre wearing a janitor's uniform and being led through a series of locked doors by Ticne, and escaping through the front door. Tahvili subsequently received an 11-year sentence in absentia. On August 8, 2008, Ticne was sentenced to three years and three months jail time for aiding in his escape.
- "FBI Crime Alert - Omid Tahvili". Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved 2008-04-30.
- Brown, Robert (2008). "Omid "Nino" Tahvili". America's Most Wanted. Retrieved 2008-04-30.
- "B.C. prison guard who helped gangster escape accepted $50,000 bribe". National Post. 2008-04-05. Retrieved 2008-04-30.
- Vardi, Nathan (2008-04-25). "The World's 10 Most Wanted Fugitives". Forbes.com. Archived from the original on 2008-10-10. Retrieved 2008-04-30.
- "Prison guard gets 3 years for aiding escape". CBC Online. 2008-08-08. Retrieved 2008-08-09.