North Vancouver, British Columbia – The B.C. Supreme Court has awarded more than $436,000 in claim repayments and punitive damages against several defendants for auto fraud.

The defendants participated in a scheme to create phony Alberta registration documents for stolen vehicles, re-registering them and then selling them to B.C. buyers.

Four people were found liable for various parts of a broad conspiracy to disguise and resell 14 stolen vehicles between 2002 and 2003. The special damages, representing claims paid by ICBC, ranged from $22,931 to $113,365, while punitive damages ranged from $5,000 to $50,000.

In his ruling, B.C. Supreme Court Justice A. F.l Cullen admitted that it was impossible to tell from the evidence presented how much the defendants profited from the scheme. “However, I am satisfied that the combination of special and punitive damages that I have awarded is adequate to deter and denounce the behaviour giving rise to these actions, by creating a significant financial burden on those who participated in this scheme,” he said.

ICBC was also awarded a further $131,216 in damages against four other people and a business found to have acquired the stolen vehicles.

“Fraud costs all British Columbians and has no place in our province,” said Solicitor General Shirley Bond. “This court ruling makes it clear that there will be serious consequences for people who commit fraud in our province.”

The trial heard two civil actions out of five filed against 89 defendants, all participants in the same theft ring. The case was split into several phases due to the number of defendants. This judgment represents the second and third phases, while the fourth and fifth go to trial in  November 2011. In 2010, the B.C. Supreme Court heard the first phase and awarded ICBC $293,395 in damages plus costs against 14 defendants.

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