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Court orders fraudster to pay fire department

March 17, 2009, Vancouver - A Maple Ridge man who set fire to his car with the intent of collecting on the insurance will have to repay firefighters 

March 18, 2009
By Canada News Wire



The payment is one of the conditions placed on Thomas James Fergusson's probation, after he pleaded guilty to lying to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia. Fergusson was sentenced in BC Provincial Court to 12 months probation and 100 hours of community service, on top of being ordered to pay the Chilliwack Fire Department $960. The payment represents a portion of the estimated $3,000 cost of the department's time and resources.
"We believe it's one of the first times an ICBC customer has been ordered to pay restitution to emergency crews," said Steven Tripp, manager of ICBC's
Special Investigation Unit (SIU), said of the court's penalty. "It's a unique penalty and one tailor made for the offence."

According to evidence presented by the Crown, Fergusson reported his car stolen on
March 8, 2008, hours after the Ford Focus was destroyed by fire. SIU
looked into the matter and, within weeks, Fergusson confessed he'd driven the Focus from his Maple Ridge home to the Chilliwack area, where he set it on
fire.

The vehicle was valued at approximately $4,600, which
ICBC would have paid had the fraud not been discovered.