Auto Insurance Scam Uncovered by Insurance Regulator

TORONTO (October 29, 1999) -- A Brampton man who fleeced thousands of dollars from unsuspecting car owners and drivers in the Greater Toronto area in exchange for false auto insurance certificates, was convicted in an Ontario court this past week (Tuesday, October 25), following charges laid by Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) enforcement officers.

Hiralal Patel, operating as Affordable Insurance Group, pleaded guilty in court to carrying on business and advertising as an insurance agent without a licence, contrary to the Insurance Act. He was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine. Following an order by FSCO, Mr. Patel also made restitution payments to victims of this scam.

"Our enforcement officers will pursue insurance con artists who are out to prey on consumers," says Dina Palozzi, FSCO's Chief Executive Officer and Superintendent of Financial Services.

When FSCO discovered the insurance fraud this past summer, it immediately issued a cease-and-desist order, seized Affordable Insurance Group's books and other property, and using the client records, contacted customers to inform them that they had no insurance coverage.

Affordable Insurance is one of several insurance scams that FSCO has recently uncovered. Also before the courts is the cease-and-desist order issued against Armada Assurance.

If a member of the public wants to verify whether a seller or company is legitimate, they can visit FSCO's website at www.fsco.gov.on.ca or call (416) 250-9209 in Toronto, or 1-800-263-0541 (toll free).

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Media contact: Isobel Fealdman, (416) 590-7230