Tuesday, February 17, 2009

ICBC Top Five Frauds 2008

ICBC names top five frauds for 2008

More than 2,800 cases investigated to protect customers from fraudsters

A staged accident ring, a bribe and a fraudulently reported stolen motorcycle are among ICBC’s 2008 list of Top Five Frauds, highlighting individuals and groups who were caught trying to defraud the public insurer and its customers last year. They were among 2800 cases of fraud investigated and 54 convictions achieved by ICBC’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) in 2008.

“We estimate fraud and exaggeration costs each of our 3.1 million customers in the range of $100 to $150 per year,” said Steven Tripp, manager of ICBC’s SIU. “That amounts to theft from our customers. We’re committed to protecting them and to keeping rates low and stable.”

No. 1 ‘Staged accident ring’

In September 2008, a court awarded ICBC more than $369,000 from 22 people who worked together to defraud ICBC. This group of friends and family members staged 12 intentional crashes dating back to 1995. In addition to the court award, ICBC secured $226,000 in settlements from various defendants.

No. 2 'It’s not a bribe, it’s a tip’

A Vancouver woman, who’d failed the knowledge test three times and the driving test another three times, placed two one hundred dollar bills on the driver examiner’s seat before he got into the car. She told investigators she thought the ‘tip’ would ensure she passed the test. The woman was sentenced to nine months conditional house arrest after pleading guilty to trying to bribe the driver examiner.

No. 3 ‘ Maybe if I destroy the evidence…’

An Abbotsford man reported his motorcycle stolen. After paying out the claim, ICBC discovered the bike had been abandoned in Sasquatch Provincial Park weeks before the alleged theft.

SIU officers interviewed the man and during a recorded statement, he claimed he lent the bike to a friend who crashed it and wouldn’t return it. The man then grabbed the digital recording device and ran out of the Claims Centre. The SIU officer caught up to him but not before the man smashed the recording device to the ground, in an unsuccessful attempt to destroy the evidence.

The man pleaded guilty to making a false statement to ICBC and mischief; he was fined $2,000 and ordered to pay $3,069 in restitution. He was also sentenced to six months probation and 15 hours of community service.

No. 4 ‘Caught on tape, working’

After crashing his vehicle, this driver claimed he was too injured to continue to work or even drive. Surveillance video not only showed him working and driving but lifting heavy boxes and equipment as he moved his business to another location.

He pleaded guilty to making a false statement to ICBC and was fined $2,000. He also repaid the $4,400 ICBC had paid him for lost wages.

“Inflating injury and damage claims is a common form of fraud,” said Tripp. “We have to safeguard our customers from fraudulent acts and those whose false claims threaten stable rates for our customers.”

No. 5 ‘Restorative justice at work’

A young Kelowna man admitted to totalling his grandmother’s car, after first claiming he was the victim of a hit and run. He opted for the restorative justice program, writing a letter of apology to community members involved, speaking to media about his experience and lessons learned and performing two days of community service. He also had to repay ICBC $18,900 for damage to his grandmother’s vehicle.

ICBC takes all allegations seriously and follows up on all tips and information. The public can help by reporting suspicious, exaggerated or fraudulent claims to ICBC’s fraud tips line at 604-661-6844 or 1-800-661-6844, toll free from anywhere in the province. Tip information is confidential and callers can remain anonymous.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comment will appear after moderation before publishing,

Thank you for your comments.Any comment that could be considered slanderous or includes unacceptable language will be removed.

Thank you for participating and making your opinions known.