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Indo-Canadian Couple Found Out The Hard Way That Lying To ICBC Can Cost You A Lot, Like $200,000

SURREY – An Indo-Canadian couple found out the hard way that it doesn’t pay to lie to ICBC, especially with their high powered lawyers, as it can come back and bit you on your backside, in this case to the tune of $200,000.

Bahadur and Amarjeet Panag of Surrey lied to the provincial insurance agency in hopes of saving barely $800 in premiums after an accident that was apparently their fault and instead now have been ordered to pay the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia more than $200,000, reported Canadian Press.

The Panags were trying to avoid paying $801 in deductible and increased premium costs related to a Newton traffic crash.

In imposing the judgment on the Panags, Justice Christopher Grauer wrote “rationality is seldom the partner of deception.”

He found the Panags began lying one day after a May 2, 2006 crash, arranging for a friend to claim he was an independent witness to the collision, which occurred when Amarjeet Panag missed a stop sign at a busy intersection and was T-boned by an oncoming vehicle.

Amarjeet Panag was driving her kids home from Khalsa School in Newton in 2006 when she crashed her husband Bahadur Panag’s Malibu into a Dodge van at 72nd Avenue and 130th Street. It was a serious collision, causing significant injury and damage.

The friend, Harinder Grewal, whom Grauer refers to as a “self-confessed liar,” never saw the crash but mirrored Panag’s claim that the oncoming car had blown through a pedestrian-operated red light, hitting Panag as she and two other vehicles crossed the intersection.

Grauer sides with another witness and the driver of the oncoming car, who reported Panag’s vehicle never slowed for the stop sign.

“Both Mr. and Mrs. Panag participated in a conspiracy to deceive ICBC about how the accident happened and the status of Mr. Grewal as a witness to the accident,” Grauer determined. “I am satisfied that the Panags and Harinder Grewal were in fact involved in a conspiracy to put forward Mr. Grewal to ICBC as a witness to the collision knowing that he had in fact not witnessed it, and with the intention that he provide ICBC with evidence that he did not have and which they knew to be untrue.”

Grauer noted that the Panags own lawyer had argued in court that it’s “not rational” Mr. Panag would have participated in such a fraud, given that he was Roadstar insured “and that the deception, if successful, would have saved him no more than a deductible of $300 and increased premiums of $501 over seven years,” reported the Surrey Leader newspaper.

After finding Amarjeet Panag entirely liable for the crash, ICBC concluded that she and her husband were guilty of fraud and, because of that, their own car insurance coverage was forfeit.

The judgment finds ICBC can recover the $188,722.86 in costs and damages, pre-judgment interest and a further $10,000 in punitive damages against each of the Panags, for sticking to their doctored story throughout the trial.

“Had they succeeded in their deception, they would have saved a mere $801 plus whatever might have been gained through a potential personal injury claim,” Grauer observed. “Now they must pay over $188,000 plus interest.”

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