A stolen Dodge Viper leads to forgery and ICBC fraud charges for Vancouver man



    ICBC has a zero tolerance for fraud

    VANCOUVER, Jan. 30 /CNW/ - David Roland Messina, of Vancouver, is facing
the consequences of attempting to defraud ICBC and trying to avoid paying
taxes on a vehicle purchase. Messina recently attended Vancouver Provincial
Court, where he pleaded guilty to uttering a forged document, an offence under
the Criminal Code of Canada. He was fined $5000. ICBC has also denied his
stolen vehicle claim, and Messina can expect to pay the outstanding tax on his
vehicle purchase.
    In Judge Giardini's reasons for sentence, he reinforced that attempting
to defraud ICBC is not a victimless crime but rather it costs all
British Columbians. And that the integrity of BC's vehicle licensing and
insurance system "depends on all of us doing our bit and being honest and
doing what we are supposed to do."
    On June 1, 2005, Messina reported his 1999 Dodge Viper was stolen while
parked near the intersection Robson and Jervis Street, in Vancouver. Later
that day, Messina contacted ICBC to initiate his claim.
    According to Messina's statement, he purchased the Viper in June 2004 for
$75,000. But while investigating the claim, ICBC uncovered that in 2004
Messina had provided ICBC with a gift letter and vehicle transfer forms
indicating a purchase price of zero. By declaring the vehicle a gift, Messina
did not pay PST for transferring the vehicle from the previous owner.
    ICBC contacted the previous owner who stated Messina paid $68,000 for the
vehicle. The prior owner also indicated he did not sign a gift letter, or
vehicle transfer form with a zero purchase price.
    When confronted by ICBC about the conflicting information, Messina denied
forging the documents. After additional questioning, he also denied trying to
sell the vehicle, although ICBC uncovered an ad placed to sell the Viper by
Messina in the Buy and Sell from July until October 2004.
    "ICBC needs its customers to provide complete and accurate information
for us to be able to correctly assess the claim and provide fair
compensation", said Steve Tripp, manager of ICBC's Special Investigation Unit.
"Providing false information to ICBC in relation to a claim is considered
fraudulent, and ICBC has zero tolerance for fraud."
    Messina was charged in July 2006 for fraud and uttering a forged
document, both offences under the Criminal Code of Canada. He pleaded guilty
to the charge of uttering a forged document, while the fraud charge was
stayed.
    ICBC invests more in fraud prevention and investigation than most
property and casualty insurance companies in Canada. By combating fraud, ICBC
hopes to deter others and to recover fraudulent payments, which help to keep
rates low and stable.
    Customers are encouraged to do their part to help fight fraud by
reporting suspicious, exaggerated or fraudulent claims. Information provided
to ICBC's fraud tips line (604-661-6844 or 1-800-661-6844) is confidential and
callers can remain anonymous.





For further information:

For further information: Kate Best, (604) 982-2480

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