The simple yet effective step of photographing every vehicle that attends a Collision Reporting Centre (CRC) helped catch a few more “fraudsters” out for a free ride on the backs of their respective insurers.
Peter Putros, who was insured by Guarantee, and Johny Johna, who said he was insured with ING, each pled guilty to fraud under $5,000 in a Toronto court recently.
Diligent work by Guarantee identified a suspicious case where the CRC photos showed that the damages just did not look right. Guarantee conducted an investigation and notified Police Constable Wes Hamilton at the North CRC, who took on the case.
Guarantee reviews all CRC files and photos they get, to seek out the suspicious cases and take action. Mike Conlon at Guarantee says this simple step helps them focus their resources, which save significant claim payouts. Guarantee takes a very strong stand against insurance fraud.
This fraud had the potential of being well in excess of a $200,000 scam.
Johna claimed that back on April 28, 2002, he was turning left in his ’91 Ford Explorer when he was broadsided by Putros and his ’93 Lexus. After reviewing the photos taken at the CRC, and comparing their two stories, it became more obvious that the collision being claimed could not have happened.
Evidence obtained, including the reports and photos from the North York and Toronto West Collision Reporting Centres, were instrumental in allowing police and insurers to identify and properly document this fraud. Johna claimed on his CRC police report that he was trying to turn into a plaza. The problem with his story is that the area he claims he was turning into not only doesn’t have an entrance to a plaza, it doesn’t have a plaza, period!
Constable Wes Hamilton said that the CRCs provided the tools for early recognition of the fraud, which resulted in the discovery and denial of the six Accident Benefit claims that had been filed.
This case is a yet another example of how CRCs, police and the insurance industry can work together in an effective, time-efficient manner. The CRC packages fight fraud from the earliest possible moment, which in turn, is giving insurers an opportunity to take control, and not be taken advantage of.
If your police force, or your insurance company has yet to join your local Collision Reporting Centre, then a case like this, that shows we do much more than provide a soothing reporting environment for the public, and provide timely information for our insurance partners, should prove again how powerful the CRCs really are!
Note: Consumers who become aware of or suspect fraudulent activity in Canada can report it anonymously to CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.
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