ICBC recovers cash in staged accident in Surrey to collect insurance payouts | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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ICBC recovers cash in staged accident in Surrey to collect insurance payouts

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January 04, 2020 - 7:00 AM

B.C.’s public auto insurer came up a bit short in a lawsuit alleging 13 members of an Iraqi immigrant community in Surrey staged numerous accidents to collect insurance payouts, despite an admission from one of the men involved.

ICBC sued 13 people based on three accidents claiming fraud and seeking recovery of payouts, but could only prove its case against two men involved in one accident, a B.C. Supreme Court justice ruled earlier this week.

Justice Michael Brundrett said it was clear that two men were involved in a scheme — mostly because one man admitted to it — but suggested ICBC was too broad in how it tried to connect the various parties in the three accidents. They were all part of the same social network, many played soccer together, some hung out at the same Tim Horton’s together and all were part of the same community of immigrants but that, plus a number of circumstantial observations, didn’t prove fraud for the majority.

But the case against Basim Mansur was easily made out because a man he was trying to ‘help’ realized what he did was wrong and self-reported the fraud to ICBC.

Yasir Khayyoo initially lied to investigators when he said he accidentally rear-ended Mansur’s 2000 Porsche 911 Carrera on Aug. 17, 2013 but later volunteered that Mansur put him up to it.

"He stated he was new in the country, had just lost his father in June of 2013, and needed money for expenses,” Brundrett wrote in his decision. "He met Mr. Mansur who offered to help him make money. Mr. Mansur came up with a plan to stage an accident and convinced him that it would work. Mr. Mansur suggested that Mr. Khayyoo drive behind him. Mr. Mansur reportedly told Mr. Khayyoo that he would stop at a traffic light at some point and that Mr. Khayyoo should bump into him. Mr. Mansur allegedly convinced him that this was a viable means of making money.”

He said he tried to pull out of the plan but Mansur intimidated him to proceed. He told ICBC and Brundrett he “made a mistake, that he wanted to own up to his mistake and that he will pay whatever ICBC wants to charge him as a result.”

It appeared it was partly this admission that prompted ICBC to investigate Mansur and led them to the other members of his community who happened to have been involved in an accident. Brundrett explored two other accidents ICBC said were fraudulent and although Brundrett said they appeared suspicious, it was just as likely they were actual accidents.

Mansur has been in at least two accidents where payouts of some sort were sought against ICBC. His wife, Besma Mansur, appears to have seven different claims against ICBC since 2005. She was also sued by ICBC but allegations against her and 10 others were dismissed.

Basim and Besma were involved in one of the other accidents ICBC wasn’t successful in prosecuting. Besma was in an accident May 29, 2010 where witnesses said they couldn’t be sure but they counted three people in the vehicle. But Besma claimed there were four. ICBC alleged that Basim wasn’t actually in the vehicle at the time of the accident but reported that he was. He collected more than $18,000 in that accident for personal injury. Brundrett said they couldn't prove he wasn't in the vehicle.

In the rear-end accident, ICBC paid out $30,000 in replacement costs for Mansur's Porsche and $1,150 in medical expenses. He also claimed unspecified personal injury damages but it appears they weren’t paid because of the admission by Khayyoo.

The third accident involved several people who knew each other, many of them younger. Brundrett found it was a legitimate accident despite some evidence people in one vehicle were speaking to people in another vehicle and an admission by one of the parties that he lied to ICBC about who was driving. Brundrett said they more likely lied because the actual driver didn’t have permission to drive the vehicle.

Brundrett ordered Khayyoo and Mansur to repay the money they got and ordered Mansur to pay $10,000 in punitive damages.

"Mr. Mansur was the initiator of the plot to stage the collision, and he covered up his conduct repeatedly,” Brundrett wrote. "He organized a deliberate scheme to defraud the publicly-owned plaintiff. An award of punitive damages will reflect the fact that the actions of the defendant offend the ordinary standards of decent conduct in the community."

Khayyoo was spared punitive damages because he didn’t orchestrate the fraud and came forward on his own to correct his mistake.

"He was contrite, apologetic, and cooperated with ICBC,” Brundrett wrote. "His evidence was critical in proving the allegation of staging in Collision 3. He endured intimidation for doing so. Mr. Khayyoo never filed a lawsuit for damages for alleged injuries."

Mansur may also be forced to pay a portion of the costs of the investigation.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Marshall Jones or call 250-718-2724 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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