ICBC and police crack down on driver licensing fraud.

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Civil lawsuit and criminal investigation underway

Vancouver BC, March 8, 2004 – ICBC and the RCMP announced today that their ongoing investigation of a fraudulent driver licensing scheme operating in the Lower Mainland has led to two arrests.

The investigation is a cooperative effort between ICBC’s Special Investigation Unit and the RCMP. It was launched as the result of anonymous tips received by both the police and ICBC.

ICBC has also launched a civil action against the owner of Dragon Driving School Canada Ltd. of Richmond in connection with allegations that, in exchange for the payment of a large fee, he arranged for B.C. driver licences to be issued without completion of the required testing. In the cases uncovered, there is evidence that the applicant either avoided taking a knowledge test or a road test, or in some cases, both. Also included in the civil action is an employee of the ICBC driver services centre in Burnaby.

“ICBC has a policy of zero tolerance on fraud,” said Mark Withenshaw, ICBC’s vice president of loss management. “Driver licensing fraud, along with insurance and claims fraud, affects ICBC’s customers and all B.C. motorists. This investigation involves very serious allegations of wrongdoing.”

“ICBC is confident that our driver licensing processes and controls are among the best in North America, and we are now taking steps to make further improvements to reduce the likelihood of further incidents such as this,” said Withenshaw.

“ICBC and the RCMP have been working together on this investigation since the initial tips were received,” said RCMP Acting Staff Sargent John Ward. “A driver’s licence is more than a permit to drive; it’s also an important form of I.D. We are pursuing that aspect of the investigation very diligently.”

There have been over 200 suspect driver licences identified. All fraudulently obtained driver licences will be cancelled. ICBC will also be providing evidence of the fraud to the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles in support of ICBC’s recommendation for cancellation of the driving school’s license.

Since obtaining their fraudulent licences, some of these drivers have made claims on their insurance. The civil action filed by ICBC also seeks recovery of the amounts paid out on such claims, along with punitive damages and costs incurred in investigating this matter.

Anyone with information that might be useful to this investigation is encouraged to contact their local RCMP detachment, ICBC, or CrimeStoppers.

ICBC’s Tip Line is an effective tool for combatting fraud, averaging more than 800 calls every month from people reporting suspicious claims and other instances of potential fraud. Information is confidential and callers can remain anonymous. The Tip Line number is 604-661-6844 or 1-800-661-6844.

More information on fraud and ICBCs prevention programs can be found on http://www.icbc.com.