B.C. Supreme Court has ordered seven people and one company to pay $155,000 in punitive damages as a result of staged Surrey collisions designed to defraud ICBC.
“Those collisions were used by various of the parties to file personal injury tort actions,” Justice Jennifer Duncan said in an April 13 decision.
“The attempted fraud in this case was significant,” Duncan said. “None of the defendants was contrite in the face of the judgment against them. They all maintained the facade that the three collisions were actual accidents.”
ICBC was the plaintiff in the case, where Duncan found fraud against defendants Inderjit Singh, Pro Choice Auto Body Ltd., Karishma Komal Prakash, Mehrafarin Mehran, Mohammad Raza Rasuli, Mahmoud Haghmohammadi, Gursharanjit Singh Bagri and Major Singh.
All three were rear-end collisions with no independent witnesses, state court documents. ICBC paid out vehicle damage claims soon after each collision, a September 2022 Court of Appeal decision said.
All three collisions also resulted in personal injury claims being made.
Duncan found Haghmohammadi, Major Singh, Pro Choice, Inderjit Singh, Prakash and Mehran liable for ICBC’s damages in respect of collision #1 where they arranged for Singh to rear-end a vehicle driven by Prakash, whose passenger was Mehran.
Duncan found ICBC’s legal costs there were $13,410.77.
The judge found Haghmohammadi, Prakash and Rasuli liable for the ICBC damages for collision #2. There, Rasuli struck the rear of Haghmohammadi’s vehicle in a pre-arranged collision. ICBC’s costs were $1,678.97.
Duncan found Inderjit Singh, Major Singh, Gursharanjit Bagri and Haghmohammadi liable for ICBC’s damages in collision #3 where the would-be victims maintained a vehicle hit Haghmohammadi’s vehicle from behind and then pushed him into the vehicle driven by Inderjit Singh. Bagri was in the passenger seat of Inderjit Singh’s vehicle. ICBC’s costs were $3,379.20.
ICBC sought punitive damages against all defendants.
Haghmohammadi was ordered to pay a total of $50,000, Inderjit Singh $30,000, Prakash $30,000, Major Singh and Pro Choice $15,000, Mehran $17,500, Rasuli (who the judge described as “a bit of a pawn”) $7,500, and Bagri $5,000.