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These are always a good read! Every year MPI releases the top 5 insurance frauds. Insurance fraud is never a good thing because in the end, the money comes out all insurance payers pockets.

All suspicious claims are investigated by MPI’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU). Over 3000 claims are investigated every year. Their efforts resulted in fraud savings of more than $9 million in 2011.

Anyone with tips on auto insurance fraud is encouraged to call the MPI TIPS Line at 985-8477 or toll-free at 1-877-985-8477. All calls are anonymous.

Here’s the top 5:

No. 1 ‘Expensive hangover’

A Winnipeg man was given a $1,500 fine and ordered to pay $60,000 in vehicle damages to Manitoba Public Insurance after he pleaded guilty to making a false statement under the Highway Traffic Act.

The vehicle owner and several of his friends began partying at a Winnipeg bar, eventually wrapping up their alcohol-fuelled festivities at his residence. At 6 a.m., the vehicle owner was driving one of his pals home when he sideswiped another vehicle. An off-duty police officer, who was heading to work, observed the crash and saw the driver run away from his badly damaged vehicle.

A check of the vehicle registration revealed the owner lived only a block away from the crash scene. When police attended to the home, the vehicle owner was drinking beer and vehemently denied any involvement ─ despite the off-duty officer being able to identify him in a photo line-up.

One of the man’s drinking pals later confirmed that the vehicle owner had been the driver at the time of the crash.

No. 2 ‘Smile for the camera’

Two vehicle owners received fines of more than $1,000 and their claims ─ totalling more than $16,000 ─ were denied after pleading guilty to public mischief.

A security camera mounted on the side of a building captured the entire crime ─ a man casually walking up to two vehicles, smashing out the windows and setting them on fire. But who was he? And why did he do it?

During the subsequent arson investigation, one of the vehicle owners admitted he wanted to get rid of his vehicle because of repair issues. He also admitted that the other vehicle owner ─ a co-worker and friend ─ wanted his vehicle destroyed. The name of the arsonist was also provided to investigators.

While watching the surveillance film, investigators observed that the arsonist was injured after being struck by a flying object when the gasoline ignited. During the interview with the arsonist, investigators observed a large, fresh scar on his forehead. He admitted his involvement.

The arsonist, a youth at the time, was ordered to complete an alternative measures program.

No. 3 ‘Black Box tells all’

Thanks to modern technology ─ vehicle data crash recorder ─ a Winnipeg man was fined $1,000 after pleading guilty to fraud-over $5,000. His $8,200 claim with Manitoba Public Insurance was also denied.

The man’s Chevy Cobalt was in poor mechanical condition and with hopes of having it written off, he arranged for a staged collision with an acquaintance. The fraudster told his Manitoba Public Insurance adjustor that he was the victim of a hit and run after a large truck drove through a stop sign and struck his vehicle.

The fraudster’s story quickly unravelled when the vehicle’s crash data recorder confirmed that the vehicle was parked at the time of the crash.

No. 4 ‘Mother’s bad decision’

A Winnipeg woman was fined $1,100 after pleading guilty to making a false statement to Manitoba Public Insurance. Her claim of $20,000 for her badly damaged vehicle was also denied.

The woman claimed she was alone at the time of the crash. However, the vehicle’s data crash recorder confirmed that the passenger seat was occupied at the time of the crash.

In addition to the vehicle’s data crash recorder, several witnesses at the crash scene told police the vehicle was driven by a male, who was accompanied by a female passenger. Witnesses told police that the male appeared impaired, smelled strongly of alcohol and was unsteady on his feet.

No. 5 ‘Not so injured’

A Winnipeg man was fined $1,000 and ordered to pay restitution of $8,466 to Manitoba Public Insurance after pleading guilty to Fraud over $5,000.

After being injured in a crash, the man began receiving Income Replacement benefits. He insisted he was too injured to return to work. After nearly a year, an investigation was initiated, confirming the man had returned to work as a professional driver ─ activity logs showed 131 shifts worked of varying lengths.