Fraudsters ordered to pay ICBC



    Corporation awarded more than $600,000 in insurance fraud lawsuit

    VANCOUVER, Aug. 5 /CNW/ - The BC Supreme Court has ruled in favour of
ICBC in a lawsuit involving an insurance fraud ring and has awarded the
corporation damages and interest in amounts that will total more than
$600,000.
    Following a lengthy trial the court ruled on that a variety of frauds and
vehicle conversions were committed on ICBC when several vehicles were falsely
reported stolen by the defendants, and other vehicles were dismantled or
disguised with phony vehicle identification numbers in order to resell them
after they were stolen. The events involved in the schemes took place over
several years prior to November 2004.
    Investigators began to discover the stolen vehicle frauds in 2002 when
some of the people involved with those vehicles were involved together in a
staged car crash and later made insurance claims to try to defraud ICBC
through that method.
    ICBC faced many claims and lawsuits for insurance coverage and paid out
amounts ranging from $6,000 to $59,000 per vehicle. Eventually the frauds and
thefts were exposed, and ICBC turned the table with a lawsuit to recover its
losses plus punitive damages and costs.
    The court decision details initial damage awards in the amount of
$519,615.40. The decision also provides that the total award will increase
following further calculations and assessments, as ICBC is entitled to
interest on the award as well as a portion of its $222,677.74 in investigative
costs.
    Jozsef Suska, described in the decision as the "ringleader" and "an
admitted and unmitigated liar" will have a judgment against him in excess of
$300,000. There also is a substantial award against Laszlo Balogh and smaller
awards against Andrea Muzsik, Aruna Mangal, November Hayward, Lorne Peebles,
Zoltan Nadasi and Gaspar Balog.
    "We are dedicated to protecting our customers and their premium dollars
against fraud," said Craig Horton, senior vice president of claims. "We will
not sit back and simply pass the cost of fraud on to our customers."
    ICBC invested approximately $8 million in fraud prevention in 2008, more
than most property and casualty insurance companies in Canada. ICBC estimates
that fraud costs each of ICBC's 3.1 million customers in the range of $100 to
$150 per year.
    The public can help combat fraud and help keep their auto insurance
premiums low and stable. Anyone with information regarding a suspicious,
exaggerated or fraudulent claim 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.
    The reasons for judgment can be found at
http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/SC/09/10/2009BCSC1051.htm





For further information:

For further information: Media contacts: Mark Jan Vrem, (604) 982-2476;
Adam Grossman, (604) 982-1332

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INSURANCE CORPORATION OF BRITISH COLUMBIA

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