Canadian Underwriter

IBC congratulates police for laying charges in staged collision investigation in Ontario township

April 7, 2016   by Canadian Underwriter

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The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is congratulating the York Regional Police (YRP) for laying charges in connection with an alleged staged collision in the Township of King, Ontario.

Investigators with the YRP Major Collision Investigation Unit laid charges against Fatin Elias, 46; Jourjeet Shahara, 52; Samid Shehara, 47; and Salam Shehara, 34; all of Toronto. They have been charged with fraud over $5,000; conspiracy to commit an indictable offence; false pretence; uttering forged documents; public mischief; and obstructing police, the YRP said in media release on Wednesday.

On Sunday, Jan. 10 at 8:30 p.m., YRP were called to a hit-and-run collision in the intersection of Weston Road and Lloydtown-Aurora Road where injuries were reported, police said in the release. When officers arrived, they found a damaged Volvo station wagon in the intersection, with two female occupants that were complaining of injuries. The occupants of the vehicle had to be extricated by firefighters and were taken to hospital. The injured driver told police that she had driven into the intersection when her vehicle was struck by a white truck that fled the scene.

As part of the investigation, officers obtained video surveillance of the intersection from a nearby business which indicated the collision had been staged and that no hit-and-run had taken place.

The accused were also involved in submitting fraudulent claims to their insurance company, the release said.

IBC said in a statement that their Investigative Services division, as well as member companies supported police investigators in this case, which resulted in a total of 24 criminal charges.

By requiring police, ambulance and fire personnel to attend a collision scene, criminals who stage collisions for profit are wasting these limited resources, making them unavailable to respond to legitimate and potentially life threatening emergencies. They can even put the lives of emergency responders at risk, IBC said in the statement.

“Staged collisions can draw innocent drivers into dangerous situations on the road,” said Garry Robertson, national director of Investigative Services with IBC. “Insurance crime adds unnecessary costs to our health care system, emergency services and courts, and it costs consumers in the form of higher insurance rates.”

Organized insurance fraud reduces road safety and drives up premiums for everyone. A single staged collision can result in more than $100,000 in fraudulent payouts, IBC said, adding that a government-commissioned report from KPMG for the Ontario Auto Insurance Anti-Fraud Task Force estimated that in 2010, the cost of insurance fraud ranged from $768 million to $1.56 billion dollars a year. This amounts to between $116 and $236 per average premium paid in Ontario in any given year.