Three people are facing fraud charges after an insurance company exposed a scheme to file allegedly false injury claims.
Toronto Police launched Project Duffy, last December, after Aviva Canada alerted them to the scam surrounding fraudulent claims.
Investigators at the insurance company revealed that an insured person notified them in August 2014 that he didn’t wish to proceed with his insurance claim with the company after a legitimate collision.
“His car was written off, but he had no collision insurance,” said Constable Chris Briggs of 32 Division Fraud section, noting he could not make a claim for damage to his vehicle but could claim for treatment for injuries. “His friend, who was driving and had no money to pay for the damage to the car, told the insured he knew a place where they could get money even though they weren’t injured.”
It is alleged the friend introduced the insured to the Wellness Centres of Ontario, at 3500 Dufferin St., Unit 607.
“The insured was asked to sign a sheet for multiple treatments for which he wasn’t required to attend,” alleged Briggs. “Having had a change of mind, he later contacted his insurance broker and advised them that he wasn’t injured and didn’t want to pursue the fraudulent claim. Despite the fact he didn’t go back to the Wellness Centres, they continued to bill Aviva for services for treatment.”
Two private investigators hired by Aviva collected evidence by secretly videotaping their interactions with people who counselled them on how to submit fraudulent benefit claims.
It is alleged that the two private investigators submitted invoices to Aviva through the clinic, billing them for over 50 treatments that were never provided.
Dr. Edward Hayes, 57, of Vaughan, and Doina Osacenco, 59, of Toronto, have each been charged with three counts of fraud and paralegal Anna Kovtanuka, 31, of Thornhill, is facing two counts of fraud and possession of property obtained by crime charges.
The Ontario College of Chiropractors is also conducting an investigation.
“This type of fraud is common, but seldom do insurance companies come to the police with information that could lead to an arrest and charges,” said Briggs. “It’s because of such fraudulent activities that insurance rates go up.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-3200, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at 222tips.com, text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637). Download the free Crime Stoppers Mobile App on iTunes, Google Play or Blackberry App World.