Indo-Canadian Insurance Brokers Among Those Disciplined In Bridge Toll Avoidance Scheme

Indo-Canadian insurance brokers Cheryl Lee Das and Rabjit Singh Johal have been penalized as a result of ICBC’s investigation into false receipt numbers entered into the Autoplan system.

SURREY – The Insurance Council of B.C., has disciplined three more brokers, including two Indo-Canadians, for helping drivers avoid paying bills for bridge tolls by entering fake payment receipt numbers into the Autoplan system.

Last Monday, licensees Cheryl Lee Das and Heidi Martina Tonja Johnson were both fined $5,000 after ICBC discovered that for the 18-month period reviewed —  January 1, 2014 to June 15, 2015 — they had collectively entered false receipt numbers into ICBC’s system 85 times, reported CBC News.

It was also determined that, as experienced insurance agents, they both should have known their actions were a serious breach of their responsibilities.

Rabjit Singh Johal was fined $5,000 after admitting he too entered false receipts to bypass toll bridge debt for his customers, saying that if the customer did not have a receipt, he would simply put in any number.

These recent judgments bring the total decisions made public to six. The council says about 100 people are under investigation. Last month, three licensees were disciplined as part of the ongoing investigation.

In May, the insurance council sent out a notice about ICBC’s investigation, warning brokers it “will not tolerate” the misconduct and that any broker whose name came up would be subject to an investigation.

In 2015, the Transportation Investment Corporation — the Crown corporation that manages tolls — said drivers in B.C. owed about $3 million in unpaid Port Mann bridge fines.

ICBC blocked a record-breaking 25,000 people from renewing their licence or vehicle insurance that year over outstanding bills.

ICBC puts a “refuse-to-issue” hold on drivers’ files, if their bills are more than 90 days overdue. To override the restriction, drivers have to pay the outstanding toll and give their official receipt number to an insurance broker, who punches it into the Autoplan system.

Valid receipts contain a combination of numbers and letters.

“Brokers are given the capability to bypass a refuse-to-issue hold for legitimate reasons — primarily for when proof of payment is presented — but also so they can carry out transactions which do not have an insurance component, such as vehicle registration or transfer of ownership,” said ICBC in a statement.

“However, in the instances which led to these sanctions, brokers were bypassing a refuse-to-issue hold when they should not have been. These actions were in clear violation of ICBC procedures, ICBC’s Code of Ethics and the ICBC Autoplan Agency Agreement.”



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