Best of the worst: Manitoba Public Insurance reveals top 5 frauds of 2019

Manitoba Public Insurance. Global News/File

Manitoba Public Insurance says its Special Investigations Unit logged $10.2-million in claims savings by the end of November through nearly 1,200 investigations.

MPI releases its list of top five frauds every year to draw attention to insurance fraud and how much money is at stake.

According to the list, here are the top five frauds of 2019:

Prison Blues

MPI says a Winnipeg man was receiving $3,600 monthly after a motor vehicle collision left him with serious injuries.

As time went on, the case manager had difficulties communicating with the man, who eventually claimed he was emotionally distressed and would be staying at a remote cabin in northern Saskatchewan for a “mental break and holiday.”

An investigation soon determined the man was in fact doing time in a federal prison, making him ineligible for the benefits.

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MPI estimates nearly $200,000 was saved by terminating the compensation.

READ MORE: Suspicious Manitoba auto insurance claims — MPI’s Top Five list for 2018

Smile for the Camera

A woman opened a claim after her pickup truck was found badly damaged in an apartment parking lot.

The woman’s husband, who also co-owned the vehicle, admitted he was the last one to drive the truck.

He told the public insurer he drove the truck to a friend’s house before going out for a night of drinking.

Afterwards, he said he decided to walk home.

READ MORE: More in-car practice, less classroom time among MPI driver education overhaul

The man speculated the keys must have been stolen from his jacket while he was at a bar.

An MPI investigator found surveillance video from across the street from the crash scene showing the truck driving erratically across the parking lot and colliding with several vehicles before the driver got out and staggered away.

After viewing the security footage, the man withdrew the claim and agreed to pay the damages for the other vehicles, totaling some $15,000.

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READ MORE: Insurance fraud charges spike in Manitoba, tip line hits record numbers

Vehicle computer reveals all

Two men opened collision claims saying they got into a two-vehicle collision at a rural intersection.

A friend of one of the men said she missed a stop sign, hitting the other vehicle in the intersection.

An MPI technician studied the data on one of the vehicle’s computers, which made several interesting findings.

The data showed the Honda was stopped for five seconds prior to impact before accelerating and steering into the Jaguar.

It also showed the Honda’s brakes were applied a half-second before the impact occurred.

READ MORE: Insurance fraud mastermind sent to jail for 4 years

The investigation also determined the damage to the vehicles didn’t match the story, and the Jaguar was not moving when the collision happened.

The owner of the Honda later admitted he lied about the crash, and needed the money because his vehicle was in bad condition.

The two men would later plead guilty in court with filing a false statement to MPI and were fined $3,000 each.

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MPI estimates the claim savings were around $70,000.

Vehicle surfer

A man opened a bodily injury claim as a result of trying to prevent his car from being stolen.

He told MPI he hired a driver for his car while running errands, but while they were out, the driver tried to take off with the vehicle.

The man said he jumped onto the trunk and tried to break through the back window while the driver was careening down the street.

It eventually crashed, sending the man flying into the pavement.

READ MORE: Rate drop in the works for Manitoba drivers, says MPI

However, several witnesses told police at the scene the man was standing on top of the vehicle “hooting, hollering, waving his arms, and laughing.”

MPI denied the claim, saying the man’s carelessness and actions resulted in his own injuries.

A pain in the neck

A woman opened a bodily injury claim after her vehicle rolled while swerving to avoid deer on a rural road.

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MPI confirmed a number of injuries, including fractures to her neck.

She claimed to be in debilitating pain and that she was bedridden, unable to care for herself or her children.

In addition to income replacement payments, MPI says she was filing claims for personal and childcare expenses.

READ MORE: New Manitoba Public Insurance tribunal to speed up disputes between drivers, Crown corp

After receiving a tip, MPI investigated and over two weeks the woman was seen driving, shopping for long periods, playing VLTs, and pushing a double stroller with her children.

The woman’s benefits were cut off, saving the crown corporation about $23,000.

MPI is also seeking repayment of about $10,000.

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Manitoba Public Insurance is stepping up efforts to catch fraudsters

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