A Winnipeg-based criminal organization was rolling back much more than just the rim as part of an complex plot to defraud Manitoba ratepayers.
Now two major players have admitted to their roles in the largest vehicle-insurance fraud case in provincial history.
Quincy Adurogboye, 33, pleaded guilty to nine fraud-related charges on Thursday, while Norman Beardy, 44, copped to three offences. Both men will be sentenced later this year.
Lawyers told court Adurogboye will be ordered to pay Manitoba Public Insurance more than $100,000 restitution, while Beardy is on the hook for $35,000. The Crown will also be seeking jail for both accused.
Brian Smiley, a spokesman for MPI, told the Free Press this represents a substantial victory for all Manitoba drivers.
Police began Project Rollback in 2005 after learning dozens of used cars with high mileage were being purchased in Ontario on the cheap, brought to Manitoba and altered to reflect greatly reduced odometer readings, which increased their value. The accused would then make phoney "sales" to each other, insure the vehicle at the increased price and then stage a series of accidents and thefts in order to cash in.
More than 30 accused were eventually arrested in 2009. Only a handful remain before the courts, as the rest have now pleaded guilty and been sentenced. More than $60,000 in restitution has previously been ordered by the courts.
In one example of the scam, the organization purchased a 1999 Lincoln Navigator that had 179,000 kilometres on it, only to be magically reduced to 95,000 km. The group then staged a car crash, and one participant made a claim to MPI. She was given a $2,400 payment for repairs.
Weeks later, the woman reported the same vehicle had been stolen and was eventually given a $16,600 settlement from MPI.
In reality, the vehicle was worth far less with its legitimate odometer reading. And it hadn't really been stolen, just hidden away.
Further incidents of the fraud will be presented at the sentencing hearings for Adurogboye and Beardy.