A 38-year-old Scarborough, Ontario man has pleaded guilty to his role in an elaborate insurance scam that defrauded insurance companies out of $1.5 million.
On Friday, Uthayakanthan Thirunavukkarasu, also known as Max or Mano, admitted to participating in a criminal organization, criminal negligence causing bodily harm and fraud charges for a total of 17 charges related to 13 separate staged accidents.
Thirunavukkarasu and his group – including, at times, as many as 40 members – would search salvage yards for vehicles that had been written off after a legitimate accident. A mechanic would issue fraudulent documents stating that the vehicle had been repaired and a member of the group would register and insure it.
The court heard that participants were paid up to $2,000 or promised to be cleared of debts if they drove the vehicle into another and made fraudulent property damage and injury claims with the insurer. A series of physiotherapy clinics controlled by the organization would bolster those injury claims.
Police said they became suspicious after noticing that one crashed vehicle had been driven only one kilometre since its previous crash.
In May 2007, one of the staged accidents did not go according to plan. A driver was instructed to drive a van filled with five accomplices into a Toronto intersection, where it would be hit by a tow-truck driven by another group member. All of the van’s passengers were to exit before the tow-truck hit, but none of the passengers were able to get out before the impact. One teenager suffered permanent brain injuries in the collision.
Thirunavukkarasu will be sentenced in March.
You might also be interested in: How to avoid staged accidents