A B.C. Supreme Court judge has found two men fraudulently staged a traffic crash in Surrey after ICBC launched a lawsuit against 13 defendants claiming they tried to defraud the corporation.
The two men are Basim Mansur and Yasir Khayyoo.
Justice Michael Brundrett dismissed ICBC’s case against the 11 other men and women, finding ICBC “painted its allegations of civil fraud with too broad of a brush.”
The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia took 13 people to court – Basim and Besma Mansur, Jenvian Dawood, Melad Putrus Hana, Sandra Azez, Johni Soko, Faris Al-Toos, Maykil Zaya, Nehad Nader, Tofen and Yasir Khayyoo, Aneez Jameel, and Ayman Jamil – in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, alleging their involvement in fraudulent personal injury and property damage claims related to three Surrey traffic crashes.
The collisions were on May 29, 2010, Aug. 11, 2013 and Aug. 17, 2013.
“ICBC says that the three collisions amounted to substantial frauds on the insurance ratepayers of British Columbia,” Brundrett noted.
The first collision was at the intersection of 104th Avenue and 152nd Street in Guildford involving a Suzuki owned by Basim Mansur. His sister Besma Mansur was driving, with Jenvian Dawood – Basim and Besma Mansur’s mother – in the front passenger street.
The Suzuki was rear-ended by a Dodge Caravan owned by Jack Yako, with his brother Jan Yako in the front passenger seat. Neither of the Yakos were alleged to have committed fraud.
Brundrett dismissed ICBC’s claim against the defendants in this crash, stating, “I cannot find that Basim Mansur committed a civil fraud, or that Besma Mansur and Jenvian Dawood were complicit in a fraud committed by him.”
Meanwhile, ICBC’s lawyers argued that the second and third crashes, in 2013, were staged as part of a fraudulent insurance claim. The second crash, at 101A Avenue and 148th Street in Guildford, happened at 1:45 a.m. and police arrived at the scene within two minutes.
“The nature of the collision was that a 2003 Audi A4 sedan, travelling west on a side-street, being 101A Avenue, and driven by either Johni Soko or Maykil Zaya, went through a stop sign and struck or T-boned a 2000 Nissan X-Terra SUV owned and driven by Melad Hana,” the judge noted. “Mr. Hana’s Nissan was northbound on 148th Street when it was hit.”
Brundrett found no direct evidence that this crash had been staged. He dismissed ICBC’s case alleging civil fraud in this crash as well, finding that “on the whole of the evidence I cannot find that ICBC has proven that the collision was staged, or that the defendants either knew or were wilfully blind to the fact that they were going to be involved in a staged collision before it occurred.”
The third crash – on Aug. 17, 2013 – happened at the intersection of 144th Street and 84th Avenue in Newton, and involved a blue 2000 Porsche 911 Carrera convertible owned by Basim Mansur being hit from behind by a green 2006 Chevrolet Uplander van owned by Yasir Khayyoo.
The court heard Mansur was the lone person in the Porsche and Khayyoo driving the Chevrolet, with Aneez Jameel as his front passenger and his brother Ayman Jamil – they spell their surname differently – as his right rear passenger.
Basim Mansur and Yasir Khayyoo both made personal injury claims related to this crash, with ICBC paying out a total $34,007.72. Aneez Jameel and Ayman Jamil had also filed personal injury claims but subsequently withdrew them.
Brundrett noted that ICBC argued at court that this collision “was the product of an agreement amongst the occupants of both vehicles to stage a motor vehicle accident for the purpose of making a fraudulent insurance claim.” He found that Mansur had staged this third crash “with the aid of Mr. Khayyoo” but decided on a balance of probabilities that ICBC’s claim of civil fraud had not been made out against Aneez Jameel or Ayman Jamil.
The judge in his Dec. 31 reasons for judgment awarded ICBC general and specific damages against Mansur and Khayyoo to the tune of $34,007.72, as suggested by ICBC, and $10,000 in punitive damages against Mansur.
“Mr. Mansur was the initiator of the plot to stage the collision, and he covered up his conduct repeatedly,” Brundrett found. “He organized a deliberate scheme to defraud the publicly-owned plaintiff.”
As for Khayyoo, the judge said, his “conduct in deliberately participating in a scheme to defraud ICBC is reprehensible and deserving of rebuke. However, Mr. Khayyoo was not the operating mind behind the fraud.”
Brundrett noted Khayyoo had only recently arrived in Canada, “badly needed money, and was vulnerable to being improperly influenced by Mr. Mansur.
“Importantly, after initially giving a false statement, Mr. Khayyoo came forward on his own initiative and admitted to his role in the affair. He was contrite, apologetic and cooperated with ICBC. He later testified in what I find was a forthright manner at trial.”
Brundrett said Khayyoo’s evidence was critical in proving the third collision had been staged and “endured intimidation for doing so.
“Normally, someone in his situation might expect a significant award for punitive damages against them,” Brundrett said. “However, in these exceptional circumstances, I would decline to make an award of punitive damages against Mr. Khayyoo.”
Paul Evans, the lawyer who represented Besma Mansur and Jenvian Dawood, told the Now-Leader his clients are on one hand pleased the judge accepted their evidence. “They’ve maintained all the time that they were honest and forthright in their dealings with ICBC, and the judgment obviously confirms that.”
“On the other hand,” Evans added, “it’s still a lingering element of frustration that it’s taken the better part of a decade for the legal proceedings to get to where they are now.
“They’re still not entirely over, as there’s going to be the question of costs and of course they’ve gone to tremendous personal and legal cost getting to where they are today,” he said. “They are both of very modest means, fighting a corporation with potentially limitless resources.”