Driver fined $4,000 for lying about crash

DNA evidence ties North Vancouver man to ditched truck

VANCOUVER, Oct. 6 /CNW/ - A North Vancouver man who totalled his boss's truck, and then lied to police about it being stolen, has been fined $4,000 in B.C. Provincial Court.

Judge Jane Auxier had no sympathy for Rodney Dean Johnson, 26, who lied to ICBC and the RCMP repeatedly. The Judge doubled the fine recommended by the Crown and ordered Johnson to pay ICBC's costs of undertaking DNA testing, a bill of $1,076.

"When someone abuses the (insurance) system by making false statements as Mr. Johnson has, they are effectively defrauding their fellow citizens and it is matter that should be dealt with harshly," said Judge Auxier, in handing down her sentence.

On June 30th, 2007, Johnson was driving along Highway 1 in North Vancouver when he slammed the truck into a signpost. The car was found abandoned on the shoulder of the roadway at 4:30am, with the airbag deployed.

Later that morning Johnson called North Vancouver RCMP and reported the vehicle stolen. He filed a theft claim with ICBC a few days later.

ICBC's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) got involved and submitted the driver's side airbag for forensic testing, which revealed the DNA on the bags matched that of Johnson. SIU investigators also examined his cell phone records, which led them to his girlfriend who lived close to where the vehicle had been found. She initially gave a false statement but told investigators Johnson admitted to her that he had been drinking, drove off the highway, and then abandoned the vehicle.

Johnson was charged with and pleaded guilty to making false and misleading statements to ICBC, in violation of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act. He must also pay a $300 victim surcharge.

Steve Tripp, ICBC's manager for fraud prevention, says the court is sending a clear signal that such fraudulent activity will not be tolerated. "The amount of the fine handed down by the judge in this case clearly underlines our position, that there's no place in B.C. for this kind of behaviour," he said.

ICBC is dedicated to protecting customers and their premium dollars against fraud. Anyone with information regarding a suspicious claim or other fraudulent activity is encouraged to call ICBC's fraud tips line at 604-661-6844 or 1-800-661-6844, toll free from anywhere in the province. Callers can remain anonymous.

SOURCE ICBC

For further information: For further information: Media contacts: Adam Grossman, (604) 982-1332

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