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Insurance fraud charges laid against Toronto wellness clinic practitioners


April 18, 2016
By Canadian Chiropractor staff

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Fraud charges have now been laid against legal and health practitioners at a Toronto clinic following an investigation into alleged fraudulent auto insurance injury claims.

An Aviva Canada customer, who stepped forward after allegedly facing pressure to lie about accident injuries, prompted the investigation. Aviva Canada subsequently provided Toronto Police Service with video and other supporting evidence that led to the charges.

In video footage obtained by Aviva Canada, a chiropractor and clinic employee from Wellness Centres of Ontario in Toronto are shown explaining to two undercover investigators how they can work together to obtain insurance payouts – despite both investigators stating that they are not hurt.

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The video footage also shows a paralegal from Kovtman Law (located near Wellness Centres of Ontario) explaining in great detail, how both the paralegal and the investigator can illegally obtain insurance payouts. The investigator was told he would get a $10,000 insurance settlement in approximately one year; $3,000 to be retained by the law office and $7,000 for the investigator.

Aviva Canada president and CEO Greg Somerville stated, “These so-called professionals are supposed to look out for the best interest of accident victims – and allegedly, this has not been happening. Fraud costs honest insurance customers approximately $130 per year in Ontario and we continue to make every effort to stop it.”

A shortened version of the video footage has been posted to Aviva Canada’s YouTube channel.

Aviva Canada’s anti-fraud team worked closely with police detectives at Toronto’s 32 Division leading up to arrests and charges for the following parties:

• Edward Hayes (licensed chiropractor) – Fraud under $5,000 X 3 (one for each of the two undercover investigators and one for our insured customer)
• Michelle Osacenco (clinic employee) – Fraud under $5,000 X 3 (one for each of the two undercover investigators and one for our insured customer)
• Anna Kovtanuka (paralegal) – Fraud under $5,000 X 2 (one for each of the two undercover investigators), Possession of property obtained by crime under $5,000

All three accused were scheduled to appear in court March 17, 2016.

“Consumers need to know that we have an over $1 billion fraud insurance problem in Ontario. We are hopeful that this typical example will raise public awareness that this hurts everyone, and encourage consumers to speak up when they see fraudulent activity,” continued Somerville.

Following the charges, Aviva Canada said it made formal complaints to the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, the College of Chiropractors of Ontario and the Law Society of Upper Canada. The company also notified the Insurance Bureau of Canada and all other major property and casualty insurers.