Burnaby resident sentenced to four months in jail for attempting to defraud ICBC

VANCOUVER, Sept. 26 – Alen Melki of Burnaby has been charged and convicted through trial of two counts of uttering forged documents, which is an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada. Melki provided faked tax documents to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) in an attempt to receive exaggerated payments for lost wages. On August 22, 2006, in B.C. Provincial Court, Melki was sentenced to four months in jail, and ordered to pay $1,500 in restitution to ICBC.

“ICBC has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to fraud,” said Mark Withenshaw, ICBC vice president of loss management. “We will not sit back and simply pass the cost of fraud onto our customers.”

In his written Reasons for Sentence, B.C. Provincial Court Judge T.J. Gove indicated that the fraud committed by Melki against ICBC warranted significant sentencing consequences: “Attempting to defraud a public insurance program established by the Legislature for the benefit of all British Columbians is a serious matter. . . Melki’s offence was planned, sustained, and deliberate. It took place over several months. At many times along the way, he could have abandoned his scheme. Although no money was paid to Melki, he caused the Insurance Corporation to incur unnecessary cost, and he was seeking a fairly substantial amount of money,” wrote Judge Gove.

Melki was involved in a crash at the intersection of Clarke Drive and Venables Street on June 19, 2002. Two days later, he attended an ICBC Claim Centre to provide his statement. Melki claimed he was injured in the crash and would be unable to work. He explained he was a self-employed painting contractor.

In working towards settling Melki’s injury claim, ICBC requested confirmation
of his income and received 2000 and 2001 tax return summaries. ICBC contacted Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA) to confirm validity of the documents, and was informed the documents were not created by them. Melki had provided ICBC with forged tax documents, in an attempt to exaggerate his income and persuade ICBC to pay a larger wage loss claim.

“ICBC combats fraud to deter others and to recover fraudulent payments. Insurance fraud is theft — theft by a dishonest minority from the honest majority of customers,” said Withenshaw.

ICBC estimates that fraud costs each of its 2.8 million policyholders in the range of $100 to $150 per year. The public is encouraged to help combat fraud to reduce claims costs, which helps to keep insurance rates 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. Callers can remain anonymous.

For more information, visit www.icbc.com