TORONTO/CNW/ - A five-year jail sentence was handed to Constable Carlton Watson, a 23-year veteran of the Peel Regional Police force, for defrauding insurance companies. The Superior Court in Brampton convicted Constable Watson of multiple counts of fraud and other charges in connection with nine insurance claims dating back to 2010. Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) applauds the court for sending a clear message with this stiff sentence.
Watson was convicted of:
21 counts of Fraud Over $5000
9 counts of Breach of Trust Public Officer
9 counts of Utter Forged Documents
3 counts of Obstruct Justice
The court found Watson guilty of supporting false insurance claim schemes by providing false collision reports and related Highway Traffic Act tickets to legitimize reported losses.
In passing the guilty verdict this past February, Justice John Sproat said Watson was paid to provide accident reports to make staged accidents look legitimate, as part of a scheme that bilked insurance companies out of more than $1 million in indemnity payments and associated investigation and legal expenses.
"Staged collisions sometimes draw innocent drivers into dangerous situations that put their safety and security in jeopardy," said Rick Dubin, Vice-President of Investigative Services at IBC. "We are encouraged to see the courts strike hard at the core of this practice. One day, hopefully, we will eliminate it."
Dubin added, "We congratulate the Peel Regional Police and the Crown on the investigation and prosecution that led to the convictions in this case. IBC and our member insurers that were victimized were very active and assisted police during the investigation."
IBC continues to send the message to Ontario drivers that cases of car insurance fraud like this one cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in extra premiums every year. In fact, a KPMG report prepared for the Ontario Auto Insurance Anti-Fraud Task Force estimated that the cost of auto insurance fraud in Ontario could be as high as $1.6 billion annually.
"This sentence reinforces what we have been saying – that auto insurance fraud in Ontario is a multi-million dollar business. And when someone makes a false or exaggerated claim, honest consumers pay considerably more than they should for insurance," said Dubin.
IBC's Investigative Services works with insurers and law enforcement to bring to justice the criminals who defraud the system and threaten the safety of innocent drivers. Everyone has a responsibility to fight fraud: insurance companies, the government and individual consumers.
To help catch fraudsters, IBC encourages people with any information about insurance crime to call our anonymous TIPS line (1-877-IBC-TIPS).
About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada's private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.
P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 118,000 Canadians, pays $6.7 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $48 billion.