Canadian Underwriter

OPP notes increase of insurance frauds involving ‘homemade’ trailers, marina chop shops and ATVs

July 27, 2011   by Canadian Underwriter

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Car theft may be grabbing headlines these days, but frauds involving other types of vehicles have emerged recently on the radar screens of Ontario police.
These include insured ‘homemade’ trailers, watercraft and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).
Sergeant Stephen Boyd of the Ontario Provincial Police’s organized crime enforcement bureau discussed these and other emerging fraud trends at the ISB Canada education series seminar, Combat Auto Fraud, held in London, Ontario on July 26.
“Homemade trailers, this is probably the hottest thing going on right now in the province [of Ontario],” said Boyd. “Do you know how many how many homemade trailers are registered in the province each year? We have had over 400,000 homemade trailers [registered] in Ontario over the last five years.
“All of these trailers are ‘homemade.’ Do they look homemade?”
Boyd’s rhetorical question accompanied a slide presentation of ‘homemade’ trailers, some of which were fully enclosed – and clearly commercially manufactured – trailers. He noted people obtain licenses for the trailers, obtain insurance for them, report them stolen and then re-register for a new homemade trailer license.
“We’ve lost 11,000 already in our jurisdiction [in 2011],” Boyd noted, adding that up to $300,000 to $400,000 worth of other property can easily go missing along with the trailer. One trailer, for example, went missing along with an expensive watercraft.
And speaking of watercraft, marina chop shops are coming into vogue. As in scams involving auto chop shops, boats are reported stolen, an insurance claim is made, and the ‘stolen’ boat is actually carted to a marina, where the boat is stripped for parts that are re-sold.
ATV thefts are also an emerging trend.
“ATVs are the Number 1 stolen [item] in OPP jurisdictions” across the province, Boyd said.
One group of thieves stole a number of ATVs, sold them, and then stole them from the buyers to whom they had just sold them. They proceeded to re-sell them a second time for $1,000 per ATV. “That was entrepreneurial,” Boyd said caustically.

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