IBC: Stiff Sentence sends a tough message on Staged Collisions

p class=”normal”>TORONTO, May 24, 2012 – Three and a half years in a Federal Penitentiary and free-standing restitution order for $375,000 is the sentence for Uthayakanthan Thirunavukkarasu, also known as Max or Mano, who earlier this year entered a plea of guilty to instructing the commission of offences for a criminal organization, proceeds of crime, criminal negligence causing bodily harm and fraud charges in connection with a staged collision ring, known as Project 92, across the Greater Toronto Area. He was personally associated with more than a dozen staged collisions.

“Staged collisions draw innocent drivers into dangerous situations,” said Rick Dubin, Vice President of Investigative Services at Insurance Bureau of Canada. “It’s a safety and security issue and we need to strike hard at the core of this practice and eliminate it.”

This significant sentence is the result of team work and cooperation among Toronto Police Service, Crown prosecutors, Insurance Bureau of Canada and the insurance industry. Mr. Thirunavukkarasu recruited more than 40 participants and instructed them to stage collisions in order to make fraudulent property damage and injury claims with insurance companies. In January, he entered a plea of guilty to 17 charges related to about a dozen separate collisions netting him approximately $1.2 million. Mr. Thirunavukkarasu is the 29th person convicted in relation to this investigation. He is the 2nd person convicted of committing or instructing offenses for the benefit of a criminal organization. IBC estimates the impact to the industry from Project 92 could be as high as $25 million.

Insurance crime is not victimless. The cost to everyone is reflected in the health care, emergency services, court and insurance costs. Insurance criminals take money out of your pocket. In the Project 92 case, one particular staged collision in 2007 went very wrong, and a teenager who acted as a participant, suffered a severe and permanent brain injury.

View the IBC video, below, about this case, staged auto accident fraud in general, and how you can help reduce fraud.

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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.

To view media releases and information, visit the media section of IBC’s website at www.ibc.ca.