Suspicious Manitoba auto insurance claims -- MPI's Top Five list for 2018

According to Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI), auto insurance fraud has an annual impact of around $50 million – costing each MPI ratepayer around $50 a year.

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The Crown Corporation releases a list of the five most unique instances of insurance fraud each year, based on suspicious claims handled by MPI’s Special Investigation Unit.

As in past years, the lengths these people went to defraud MPI are surprising, but in every case, they were caught – among the 1,600 cases per year closed by the investigative unit.

1. A 25-year-old woman was collecting income replacement payments after saying she was unable to work because of injuries from a collision. She claimed she couldn’t walk for more than 15 minutes without getting dizzy, and unable to drive for long periods of time.

Unfortunately for her, she was seen walking around at Winnipeg’s Comic Con for six hours, and repeatedly driving the two-hour round trip from her rural home to go shopping in Winnipeg.

The woman’s income replacement payments were cancelled, and she had to pay back the $34,000 in benefits she’d already received.

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2. A vehicle owner reported a theft to MPI, saying she had given the car to her 22-year-old son — he said the keys had been stolen while at a house party.

A few days later, a witness told MPI he saw a man deliberately lighting a vehicle on fire on a rural road. RCMP investigation discovered that the same vehicle had been involved in a hit-and-run the previous night in Winnipeg.

Police showed photos of several people to witnesses, who were able to conclusively identify the driver. This resulted in the theft claim being denied as false, and resulted in a savings of $57,000 for MPI.

MPI released the details of some creative attempts to commit insurance fraud in 2018.

MPI released the details of some creative attempts to commit insurance fraud in 2018.

Global News / File

3. When police found a vehicle badly damaged, the owner opened a theft claim with MPI.

She said her 45-year-old son had gone for breakfast with his brother at a downtown hotel, and that a thief had stolen the vehicle’s keys from a sweater that had been left unattended on a chair.

Investigation revealed that the restaurant hadn’t served breakfast in years, and that the brothers hadn’t seen each other in over nine months.

MPI filed for a repayment of the $22,800 the owner had already been paid.

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4. A Winnipeg man told MPI that his vehicle had been stolen while he and his girlfriend were attending a Christmas party. The vehicle was found near the man’s home, badly damaged after having crashed into a tree.

Investigation revealed that the man – who appeared ‘highly intoxicated and agitated’ – and his girlfriend did return home from the party, and that the man was seen driving off in his vehicle shortly afterward.

The man withdrew the claim.

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5. A man told MPI he had been driving his 2014 Nissan Titan when it crashed into a rural Manitoba ditch.

Thanks to an anonymous call to MPI’s tip line, however, MPI was informed that the man’s wife was actually the driver, and was heavily intoxicated at the time of the crash.

The vehicle owner was told MPI staff were going to download data from an onboard crash data recorded, which would confirm the weight of occupants in the front seat at the time of crash.

He then withdrew his claim.

WATCH: MPI tracking factors in car theft

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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