What do you risk by being dishonest? – Case # 1 – stolen car
The theme that runs through four of the articles I post today centre around failed attempts to defraud an insurer. In each case the dishonesty has been uncovered during the last fortnight and in each case the question has to be asked: was it worth the risk?
A police officer in a small town in Victoria noticed a BMW was sitting on the side of the road with no plates. He pulled up and reading the vehicle identification number (“VIN”) radioed it through and found that the vehicle had been reported stolen a couple of years ago.
It turns out that the owner had reported it stolen but had in reality had it stored up at his country retreat in a locked shed. He had pulled it out on the street for the first time to clean out the shed of some other stuff.
Back when he reported the theft he also made an insurance claim and had received $23,000 in settlement.
The car was impounded and is now the property of the insurer. Fortunately for the insurer the car is in pristine condition. Any shortfall in the proceeds of the car after it is sold and the pay-out will be part of the restitution sought by the insurer.
In addition, the owner/thief is now facing a string of serious criminal charges including insurance fraud, making a false report to police. In addition his actions are going to make it extremely difficult for him to get insurance on his car, house, or business moving forward as insurance is based on the underlying principle of Utmost Good Faith. When anyone breaches that trust, like in most relationships it is very difficult if not impossible to regain it.
It is estimated that insurance fraud adds over $95 to everyone’s motor insurance premium each year. It is a serious problem but not one without risk to those that perpetrate it.
I really do not know what the owner expected to ever do with the car. With much greater coooperation between police departments and a common data base of stolen vehicles he could never have registered it again.
Anyone considering being dishonest in this way ought seriously to consider the very serious consequences of getting caught.