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MPI Autopac ratepayers saved nearly $40,000 last year after certain insurance claims proved to be fraudulent. MPI spokesperson Brian Smiley says each year they tally up the five worst frauds perpetrated in Manitoba.

"The number one was the Comicon job," says Smiley. "Very briefly, this involved the 25-year old woman who was collecting income replacement payments. She said she could not walk for various long periods of time. She was unable to drive long periods of time. Based on a tip to the tips line, an investigation was launched and it was discovered she m was observed one day walking around Winnipeg's Convention Centre enjoying the Comicon show. She was out there for about six hours, and she was also observed numerous times driving back and forth to her rural residence, which was a round trip of almost two hours. So, she certainly was able to return back to work."

Smiley says that information moved MPI to terminate her income replacement payments, and she was demanded to pay back $34,000.

He recounts another unique case.

"The registered owner of a vehicle opened a Total Theft claim," explains Smiley. "She told police her son had taken the vehicle. MPI and police spoke to her son. The man claimed he'd gone for breakfast with his brother. They went to play some VLTs in the course of the day. The son, who had the keys, presumed the keys must have been stolen from his sweater. Once the investigation was launched, the story quickly unraveled. Hotel staff confirmed the restaurant hadn't served breakfast in a number of years, and the brother hadn't even seen the other brother in nine months."

He notes MPI filed a statement of claim for a repayment of nearly $23,000.

Smiley says this affects us all, noting these benefits come from the premium collected from customers. Dishonest people cause us to pay money we shouldn't be paying. Frauds cost every MPI ratepayer about $50 a year, which amounts to $50-million.

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