Identity fraud nets B.C. man six months in jail

Fraudster used forged Alberta licence to get one in B.C.

VANCOUVER, Nov. 19 /CNW/ - A six-month jail sentence has been handed down to a man who managed to secure two drivers licences under different aliases.

Christopher Richard Alblas presented an Alberta driver's licence when applying for a licence to drive in British Columbia, in September 2004. After a series of checks and reviews aimed at protecting the security of B.C.'s Driver Licensing system, the Customer Service representative contacted her Alberta Counterpart and determined the licence provided by Alblas was a fake. ICBC's Special Investigations Unit took over and tracked Alblas through several aliases to learn his real identity.

Alblas was charged in 2006 with two counts of impersonation, one count of fraud and one of uttering a forged document for using a fake identity to file a claim with ICBC. At trial he pleaded guilty to fraud and uttering a forged document, and was sentenced in September of this year to six months in jail. Alblas was also ordered to repay ICBC $5,091 for the claim paid out.

Fred Hess, ICBC's Vice President of Driver Licensing, notes the fraud perpetrated in the above case is now much harder, thanks to the use of facial recognition technology for B.C. driver's licences and identification cards.

"Facial recognition technology allows ICBC to compare the driver's image with the entire driver image database, thereby reducing fraud and identity theft by ensuring cards are not issued to multiple identities," said Hess.

ICBC provides driver licensing services to all British Columbians, with 121 points of service to assist customers across the province. In February 2009, new driver's licences and identification cards were introduced in B.C. with an eye to combating fraud.

"The new cards are harder to alter, forge or obtain under different identities, which will help to prevent identity theft and other criminal activity against the overwhelming majority of our honest customers," Hess added. "In this particular case, we were able to protect our customers from paying out on a fraudulent claim and from a threat to their identity being stolen."

ICBC settled more than 670,000 claims last year. Only a handful were fraudulent, but those frauds cost each of our 3.1 million customers in the range of $100 to $150 per year. Anyone with information regarding a suspicious claim or fraudulent act 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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