Learner driver learns the hard way: Lying isn't worth it



    Court orders driver to pay ICBC out of pocket for totaling car

    VANCOUVER, June 16 /CNW/ - The case of a young Surrey woman serves as a
timely reminder to new drivers about the perils of ignoring the requirements
of British Columbia's Graduated Licensing Program.
    A BC Provincial Court judge in Surrey ordered Michelle Larocque to
reimburse ICBC more than $26,000 for lying about the circumstances of a crash
that destroyed her father's vehicle. She was also fined $1,000, after pleading
guilty to providing a false statement to ICBC under the Insurance (Motor
Vehicle) Act.
    Larocque was 19 years-old and had a Learner licence in August 2005 when
she got behind the wheel of the leased 2002 Lincoln, alone. Under the
Graduated Licensing Program, a Learner is required - whenever driving - to be
accompanied by an adult aged 25 or older who has a valid Class 5 driver's
licence.
    The investigation determined Larocque crashed into another vehicle and
later lied to ICBC about the mishap, claiming that she was not alone in the
car. The other driver and three independent witnesses to the crash all told
ICBC she was alone in the vehicle.
    "Normally, ICBC would bring a separate court action against the driver to
recover payments made on the insurance claim," said Steven Tripp, Manager of
ICBC's Special Investigations Unit. "But Provincial Court Judge Gulbransen
ordered Ms. Larocque to pay restitution in the amount of $26,131. The message
here, clearly, is that lying to avoid a hike in premiums or a fine just isn't
worth it."
    ICBC goes after fraudsters; we recommend criminal charges where
appropriate, and take them to court to recover any dollars paid out for false
claims.
    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.





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

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