TORONTO, Dec. 18, 2012 /CNW/ - "Today's announcement marks a significant step in the fight against insurance fraud," says Rick Dubin, Vice President, Investigative Services, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).
IBC commends the York Regional Police efforts which have now resulted in charges against 9 additional individuals on the Project Sideswipe investigations.
It is alleged that the 9 individuals charged today, have been identified as current or former owners, principals, managers or key medical or legal service providers for at least 9 facilities generating suspected false insurance claims. These facilities included medical assessment centres, injury treatment clinics, legal services offices, and auto repair shops and were extensively involved in the auto insurance claims associated to the alleged staged collisions currently being prosecuted.
Dubin says, "For the first time, we see medical practitioners allegedly operating at private, for profit medical clinics included in the charges. The nature of the criminal charges announced today in this case, including offenses related to alleged organized crime activity, proceeds of crime, money laundering, conspiracy and fraud speak to the suspected highly organized exploitation of the insurance system."
Project Sideswipe involves nine alleged staged collisions that occurred in York Region along with suspected associated false medical billings from several medical rehab and assessment centres located in Brampton, Toronto and Mississauga.
"While York Region has taken the lead on this investigation, it shows the problems are widespread," says Dubin. Recently, the Ontario Anti-Fraud Task Force Steering Committee released its final report with a series of recommendations. The report also included a study -- conducted by KPMG -- that estimated the cost of auto insurance fraud in Ontario was between $769 million to $1.6 billion annually - and this was viewed by the Ontario Government's consultants as a conservative estimate.
"Among the recommendations was the licensing of rehabilitation and assessment clinics that treat and assess auto insurance claimants. With today's additional charges, everyone should appreciate that this is a major problem in our fight against fraud to make auto insurance in Ontario both affordable and sustainable. IBC urges the Ontario government to act now and implement the recommendations from the Anti-Fraud Task Force Steering Committee," adds Dubin.
IBC is dedicated to helping build an environment that allows the government to introduce much-needed reforms in the fight against fraud and will continue to be vigilant on the fraud file and work with law enforcement, insurance companies, government and the public to investigate fraudulent activity, and to continually raise awareness of a problem that affects everyone.
IBC recently partnered with Crime Stoppers in an effort to provide consumers with another avenue to submit their anonymous tips about suspected insurance fraud and vehicle theft. People can now anonymously submit tips to 1-800-222-TIPS or also report fraud on ibc.ca.
About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association representing Canada's private home, car and business insurers. Its member companies represent 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs over 114,000 Canadians, pays more than $7 billion in taxes to the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and has a total premium base of $40 billion.
If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to discuss the details in this media release.
SOURCE: INSURANCE BUREAU OF CANADA
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