37 arrested in GTA raids for vehicle fraud

Over 130 charges for scam resulting in estimated fraudulent insurance payouts of $4 million.

Toronto Police have arrested 37 people and placed more than 130 charges after an early-morning sweep today in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) targeting an alleged vehicle fraud operation.

The raids began around 6:00 am February 23 and focused on homes in Toronto and Brampton, Ont. Toronto police chief Bill Blair said that while most involved in these cases were members of the South Asian community, this type of fraud isn’t limited to any one group.

The alleged scam, called Project Whiplash, targeted numerous insurers and resulted in estimated fraudulent payouts of $4 million.

Specifically, Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) has charged four rehabilitation clinics and six individuals affiliated with these clinics with offences under Ontario’s Insurance Act.

“Auto insurance fraud and accident benefit abuses cost all drivers. Fraudsters’ schemes take money out of the pockets of consumers by driving up auto insurance premiums. Today’s actions should send a strong message that fraud will not be tolerated,” said Philip Howell, CEO and superintendent of FSCO.

The following clinics were charged with one count each of knowingly making false or misleading statements to an auto insurer to obtain payment for goods and services provided to an insured and engaging in an unfair or deceptive act or practice:

  • McCowan Rehabilitation Clinic (1583 Ellesmere Road, Suite 104, Scarborough, Ontario)
  • Ontario Rehabilitation Clinic (3031 Markham Road, Suite 31, Scarborough, Ontario)
  • Physiotherapy Clinic (1920 Ellesmere Road, Suite 110, Scarborough, Ontario)
  • North York Health & Rehabilitation Centre (1280 Finch Avenue West, Suite 519, Toronto, Ontario)

Several individuals affiliated with these clinics were also charged with the following offences:

  • Vishnukanthan Sabapathy (four counts each of: knowingly making false or misleading statements to an auto insurer to obtain payment for goods and services provided to an insured and engaging in an unfair or deceptive act or practice pertaining to each of the four rehabilitation clinics identified above)
  • Thayalan Thamootharampillai (one count each of: failing to take reasonable care to prevent the company from making false statements to an insurer and from engaging in an unfair or deceptive act or practice)
  • Jeyakanthan Thivendran (one count each of: failing to take reasonable care to prevent the company from making false statements to an insurer and from engaging in an unfair or deceptive act or practice)
  • Sujeegah Kanagalingam (one count each of: failing to take reasonable care to prevent the company from making false statements to an insurer and from engaging in an unfair or deceptive act or practice)
  • Sipaskaran Sabaratnam (one count each of: failing to take reasonable care to prevent the company from making false statements to an insurer and from engaging in an unfair or deceptive act or practice)
  • Nishanathan Ponnuthurai (one count each of: failing to take reasonable care to prevent the company from making false statements to an insurer and from engaging in an unfair or deceptive act or practice).

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) congratulated Toronto Police Service for its commitment to this case.

“We take insurance crime seriously,” said Rick Dubin, vice president, investigative services, IBC. “Insurance crime is not victimless. The cost to everyone is reflected in health care, emergency services, court and insurance costs. Insurance criminals take money right out of your pocket – when they cheat, you pay.”

IBC supported the police and continue to support FSCO investigations by collecting and collating information from member insurers and by acting as a liaison for all involved parties.

To help catch fraudsters, IBC encourages people with any information about insurance crime to call our anonymous TIPS line (1-877-IBC TIPS).

With files from The Canadian Press

Copyright © 2017 Transcontinental Media G.P.
Transcontinental Media G.P.