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MPI releases top 5 fraud cases

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Yet another year-end list? OK, sure.

This one comes from Manitoba Public Insurance, who released its annual Top 5 fraud list today. MPI has a special investigation unit to handle discrepancies between real events and claims, and will investigate over 3,000 yearly. Over the last 12 months, MPI says it saved more than $8 million in fraudulent auto insurance claims.

Here’s a look at the Top 5 fraud cases, which were settled this year:

1. A Winnipeg man was severely injured when his vehicle collided with a moving train. Another man in the vehicle was killed in the accident. The injured man, who had a blood-alcohol level double the legal limit, told police and MPI he was a passenger in the vehicle and that his friend was driving.

However, video evidence from the locomotive video camera showed the injured man was behind the wheel at the time of the crash.

Many of his personal injury benefits were denied as a result of the finding, a total that amounted to about $150,000.

2. Two men, claiming to be strangers to one another, put in claims after their expensive sports cars were involved in a collision. Investigators quickly determined the men knew each other (they were friends and business partners) and had orchestrated the crash, with one of the vehicles slamming into the other.

MPI saved nearly $50,000 as a result of the investigation.

3. A Winkler man was forced to pay a $2,500 fine after MPI investigators determined that his 2007 Dodge RAM was not stolen and later damaged. A court heard that the truck was equipped with an approved immobilizer which was not compromised, and a judge ruled the vehicle was not stolen.

4. The man behind a complex auto insurance fraud was sent to jail for four years and ordered to pay $150,000 in restitution to MPI after investigators caught wind of the scheme.

"Project Rollback" found that cars with high mileage purchased in Ontario were being brought to Manitoba, altered to reflect a lower mileage which in turn increased their value, and then crashed to cash in on the higher insured value.

The case was settled this year. More than 30 people were arrested in 2009.

5. A Kenora resident and businessman, not wanting to pay the higher insurance premiums in Ontario, decided to register his vehicle in Manitoba. It would have cost the man $12,000 to insure his car in Ontario; compared to $1,200 in Manitoba.

The man was involved in an accident near Kenora and wrote off his $24,000 vehicle. Telling MPI that he lived in rural Manitoba, the investigation unit found that he was living in Kenora. His claim was denied.

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