The monopoly the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) has over auto insurance in BC is well-known and well-criticized. This is the story of how a group of 13 people were sued for trying to defraud ICBC.
It begins with three accidents.
The first: On May 29th, 2010, at 3:45 pm, a Dodge Caravan rear-ended a Suzuki at the intersection of 104th Ave. and 152nd St. in Surrey.
The second: On August 10th, 2013, at 1:45 am, a 2003 Audi A4 t-boned a 2000 Nissan X-Terra at the intersection of 101A Ave. and 148th St. in Surrey.
The third: On August 17th, 2013, at 10:14 pm, a green 2006 Chevrolet Uplander rear-ended a blue 2000 Porsche 911 Carrera at the intersection of 144th St. and 84th Ave. in Surrey.
Aside from all of them taking place in Surrey, the three accidents are seemingly-nondescript. Insurance claims were filed with ICBC in all cases, as is the case with most accidents in BC.
For Collision 1, ICBC paid the claimant, Basim Mansur, $18,000 for his claim and his injuries, as well as $533.63 in accident benefits.
In Collision 2, numerous claims were filed by each party, but multiple claims were withdrawn or ultimately not advanced.
For Collision 3, ICBC ultimately paid out $34,007.72, over $30,000 of which went to the driver behind the wheel of the Porsche.
Again, all three collisions look to be fairly run-of-the-mill.
Looks, however, can be deceiving.
The House Crumbles
In total, 13 defendants were brought to court on December 31st, 2019 to face allegations that they tried to defraud ICBC by staging accidents.
Regarding Collision 1, ICBC alleges that Mr. Mansur filed an injury claim as a backseat passenger on on June 10th, 2010, but that the claim was fraudulent because Mr. Mansur was not even in the vehicle at the time of the accident.
Collision 1, the court said, “was a legitimate rear-end collision.” However, because there were no professional witnesses (police officers or paramedics) and testimony from both parties lacked in consistency and strength, the court ultimately dismissed ICBC’s charges.
Regarding Collision 2, ICBC alleged that the entire accident was staged and that it was the product of a conspiracy among the drivers and their passengers for the purpose of making an insurance claim.
The driver of the Nissan X-Terra was Mr. Melad Hana. However, the driver of the Audi was disputed. Initially, Mr. Johni Soko said he was behind the wheel. Later on, though, he reversed course and said that he was a front-seat passenger while Mr. Maykil Zaya drove.
The most suspicious piece of information was that phone records showed that Mr. Hana, the driver of the Nissan, received five calls from a number associated with the brother of Mr. Soko, an occupant in the Audi. Mr. Hana claims that he was speaking to Mr. Soko’s brother, Yaqoob, who is a friend and client of his, and not Johni Soko, who was in the Audi.
Both Mr. Hana and Mr. Soko were ultimately charged with criminal fraud in relation to Collision 2. The court found that Mr. Hana was guilty of intentionally misrepresenting the vehicle’s speed to ICBC, while Mr. Soko pled guilty to the lesser offence of providing false or misleading information to ICBC, as it relates to the driver of the Audi.
The court accepted these convictions as evidence, but only on face value, and not as evidence that the entire accident was staged. The court once again said that ICBC failed to prove that the collision was staged. However, the court said, “there are certainly suspicious aspects to the circumstances.”
More suspicious circumstances would arise as it relates to Collision 3, ones that could not be ignored as easily.
It turns out Mr. Basim Mansur, who was involved in Collision 1, was also involved in Collision 3, a fact that ICBC did not initially realize, as they failed to look at the 2010 file when the claims for Collision 3 were filed.
Even more suspicious was the connections between Collision 3 and Collision 2. A phone call occurred on the night of Collision 3 between a number associated with one of the passengers involved in Collision 3, and one associated with Mr. Hana, the driver of the Nissan in Collision 2.
There was also reason to believe that the passenger involved in that call, Aneez Jameel, hid his relationship with Mr. Mansur. Mr. Mansur had once helped Mr. Jameel with a previous insurance claim with ICBC, appeared in photographs together on Facebook, including one at at a Tim Hortons in Surrey immediately after Collision 3 with others involved in the accident.
In court, the judge dismissed ICBC’s charges against the passengers, but the drivers, Mr. Mansur and Mr. Khayyoo, were ordered to pay ICBC a total of $34,007.72 in general and special damages. Mr. Mansur, which the court identified as “the initiator of the plot”, was also ordered to pay an additional $10,000 in punitive damages.
In court, Mr. Khayyoo confessed to the scheme, providing testimony that was “critical in proving the allegation”, and “endured intimidation for doing so.”
The ruling found that Mr. Khayyoo “was not the operating mind behind the fraud” and also noted that Mr. Khayyoo “only recently arrived in Canada a few months prior to Collision 3, badly needed money, and was vulnerable to being improperly influenced by Mr. Mansur.”
In total, 13 people who brought to court to face charges. All 13 were Iraqi immigrants. Some attended masses at the same church, others played soccer together. It remains unclear how close they all were.
In court, Mr. Mansur maintained that Collision 3 was not staged. He said ICBC was out to get him. He also said that he always tried to help those in the Iraqi community in BC, something the judge acknowledged in his ruling.
“I find it reasonably probable that in his enthusiasm to help a fellow immigrant, Mr. Mansur went too far.”
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