Facebook posting leads to confession about ICBC claim
January 24, 2012
A Williams Lake man has been fined $2,000 and ordered to pay over $18,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to fraud and obstruction of justice in connection with an ICBC claim.
Corbin Joseph's troubles began when he rolled his vehicle on a rural road near Springhouse, a small community west of Williams Lake.
At the time, he was prohibited from driving so in order to collect insurance on the vehicle, which was a total loss, he convinced a friend to tell ICBC that she was the driver. At the time of the crash, three other people were in the vehicle and fortunately, no one suffered serious injuries.
The story came apart after ICBC's special investigation unit (SIU) became aware that Joseph was bragging on his Facebook page that he had rolled his truck after drinking at a New Year's Eve party and subsequently got a big payout from ICBC.
When SIU officers interviewed his friends, they admitted that Joseph drove to and from the party, and had in fact put the vehicle in the ditch twice that night.
When Joseph learned that SIU officers were interviewing the woman who initially claimed she was driving, he sent her phone texts and Facebook messages offering her considerable sums of money and legal assistance if she stuck to the original lie. She refused and instead cooperated with the investigators by providing copies of those messages.
Joseph subsequently admitted to everything he'd lied about, and that he had been motivated by the $18,350 insurance payout for his truck. In addition to the fine and the restitution order, the Williams Lake Provincial Court judge handed down a three-month conditional sentence and put Joseph on probation for six months.
"Insurance fraud is a serious crime that steals hard-earned money from the overwhelming majority of our honest customers," said Steve Tripp, manager of ICBC's special investigation unit. "We will not sit back and simply pass the cost of fraud on to our customers."
The public can help combat fraud. Anyone with information regarding a suspicious, exaggerated or fraudulent claim is encouraged to call ICBC's fraud tips line at 604-661-6844 or 1-800-661-6844 toll free from anywhere in the province. Callers can remain anonymous.
Mark Jan Vrem