Toronto trio plead guilty to healthcare auto insurance scam

Published: April 6, 2018

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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Last month, it emerged healthcare professionals in Ontario are logging an impossible number of hours to insurance companies for treating auto collision victims. With the danger of fraud ever present, a case in Toronto has shed light on this problem. Two healthcare providers and a legal aid have been charged in Toronto for auto insurance fraud.

All parties have pleaded guilty to fraud in connection with a benefit-sharing racket. Chiropractor Edward Hayes, clinic employee Michelle Osacenco, and paralegal Anna Kovtanuka pleaded guilty to fraud under $5,000.

The court has handed out punishments to the parties. Hayes received a six-month conditional sentence and 12 months probation. Osacenco was given a 12-month probation order, a conditional discharge, and a fine of $1,500 in restitution. Finally, Kovtanuka was handed a conditional discharge, three years of probation, and a fine of $1,000 in restitution.

The case stems from an Aviva Canada investigation started in March 2016 when a customer revealed they were being pushed towards lying about healthcare claims for benefits. The insurance company conducted an investigation that resulted in a video sting that uncovered the nefarious activity.

Kovtanuka and an employee from Wellness Centres told to undercover investigators how they can get claims payouts even if no injuries are present.

“The facts in this investigation highlight typical abuse within Ontario’s auto insurance system, the cost of which continues to be a key contributor to rising premiums,” said Aviva fraud investigator Christopher Lang.