BC Supreme Court prosecutes fraudsters

Defendants in stolen vehicle ring ordered to repay ICBC over $344,000.

The BC Supreme Court has come down against several defendants who participated in a scheme to create phony Alberta registration documents for stolen vehicles, re-register and then sell them to BC buyers.

Four people were found liable for various parts of a broad conspiracy to disguise and re-sell 14 stolen vehicles between 2002 and 2003.

They were ordered to pay special and punitive damages as follows:

DefendantSpecial damages

(claims paid by ICBC)

Punitive damages
Jaspal Atwal$22,931$5,000
Vikram Atwal$113,365$40,000
Jasraj Bains$96,510$40,000
Jagjit Gill$68,730$50,000

Note: Some defendants were found jointly liable so special damages overlap and they cannot be totaled.

In his ruling, BC Supreme Court Justice A.F Cullen admitted it was impossible, with the evidence before him, to determine the extent to which any of the conspiracy defendants profited from the scheme at issue.

“However, I am satisfied that the combination of special and punitive damages that I have awarded is adequate to deter and denounce the behavior giving rise to these actions, by creating a significant financial burden on those who participated in this scheme.”

The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) was also awarded a further $131,216 in damages against four other people and a business found to have acquired the stolen vehicles. The damage awards overlap those of the four conspirators, named above.

“Fraud costs all British Columbians and has no place in our province,” said Shirley Bond, minister of public safety and solicitor general. “This court ruling makes it clear that there will be serious consequences for people who commit fraud in our province.”

“We are pleased with the award,” said Shelley Russell, ICBC’s vice president of claims programs and planning. “The punitive damages, in particular, show how seriously the courts treat this type of fraud.”

This trial heard two civil actions out of five filed against 89 defendants, all participants in the same theft ring. The case was split into several phases due the number of defendants. Today’s judgment represents the second and third phases of the civil action. The fourth and fifth phases go to trial in November 2011.

In 2010, the BC Supreme Court heard the first phase of the action and awarded ICBC $293,395 in damages, plus costs, against 14 defendants.

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