Toronto man who staged car collisions in an insurance fraud is sent to prison
Published 12 minutes ago
Uthayakanthan “Mano” Thirunavukkarasu was sentenced Thursday in an insurance scam that faked 13 car crashes.
STEVE RUSSELL/TORONTO STAR
An insurance-scamming “choreographer” of 13 staged collisions on Toronto’s busy streets was sent to prison for 3½ years Thursday.
Uthayakanthan “Mano” Thirunavukkarasu, 38, was one of the leaders of a criminal organization that recruited and directed a deceitful cast of participants, including dozens of so-called drivers and passengers who faked injuries for fraudulent insurance claims costing insurers $1.5 million.
Of that, $1.2 million flowed through Thirunavukkarasu’s business account. He has been ordered to pay restitution of $375,000.
Tow truck drivers, body repair shops and rehab clinics were also drawn into the “extremely sophisticated” scam by Thirunavukkarasu, who had “tentacles in every part of the plan,” Ontario Superior Court Justice John McMahon said in passing sentence.
“These aren’t staged in abandoned parking lots,” McMahon said. “Disaster could have struck any time.”
It did, in fact, in May 2007 when a staged crash in Scarborough went awry, leaving a man with permanent brain injury.
Thirunavukkarasu pleaded guilty earlier this year to 17 charges relating to 13 crashes in 2007, including instructing a criminal organization, fraud and criminal negligence causing bodily harm.
The Crown had asked for four years. Defence lawyer Barry Fox had suggested two years, but said two to four years was in the appropriate range.
Thirunavukkarasu was 6 when he saw his parents and sister macheted to death in Sri Lanka, court heard. He was under psychiatric care in his homeland but has functioned well since coming to Canada in 1990 where he has worked steadily since graduating from Grade 12.
The married father of three sought psychiatric care last year and is on medication for depression. There is no evidence mental health was an issue in 2007.
“What I did was terribly wrong. I’m very sorry for it,” Thirunavukkarasu said through a Tamil interpreter as tearful family members listened in court.
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