Kamloops man misled ICBC; took home $43K | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops News

Kamloops man misled ICBC; took home $43K

A Kamloops man managed to get $43,000 in benefits and wage subsidies after he was in a car accident and couldn't work -- at least, that's what he told ICBC.

It turned out Sai Sabharish Vasantam worked the entire time, while siphoning money for lost wages and medical care for more than a year.

"I wish I had more proper guidance from the beginning," he told the court on Jan. 19. "Next time I'll be more careful."

Vasantam, 28, was initially charged with fraud over $5,000, but was found guilty of the lesser included offence of making false or misleading charges to an insurance company, netting him a $5,000 fine instead of jail time.

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As a permanent resident who moved to Kamloops in 2016 for university, his immigration status would be put at risk if he faced a criminal fraud charge.

He was, in fact, in a collision in April 2018 where he swerved to avoid hitting another car, the court heard.

He then claimed he stopped working due to concussion symptoms and other injuries, with the help of letters from employers giving confirmation to ICBC.

In total, he got $43,902 from ICBC, but worked multiple jobs including as a delivery driver for Skip The Dishes and as a business consultant, which he still does.

He also bought two Hyundai SUVs in the year-and-a-half he was accepting money from ICBC.

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Vasantam has paid back the money he took from ICBC through a loan he sought after pleading guilty in June, the court heard.

Defence lawyer Daniel McNamee said the loans are a financial hardship, adding Vasantam does in fact still suffer from some of his injuries, despite working while lying to ICBC.

He won't get anymore medical benefits from ICBC because of his false claims.

"There's a very serious financial consequence here. There's a forfeiture of benefits he might have otherwise had. There's a $5,000 fine," McNamee said.

McNamee called Vasantam's false claims an "oversight."

"I do accept that it has had a significant financial consequence on him, but I also keep in mind that this is of his own making," provincial court judge Roy Dickey said.

Vasantam will have 12 months to pay his fine or risk jail time, Dickey said.

— This story was corrected at 1:13 p.m. Jan. 23 to clarify court proceedings and the exact charge Mr. Vasantam was convicted of.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 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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