Aviva Canada investigation leads to conviction and stiff sentence for Québec police officer

Former policyholder gets 15 months in prison after dumping truck in the St. Lawrence River 

May 4, 2017 (Toronto, ON) – In another strong stand against insurance fraud, Aviva Canada praises the recent sentencing of a former Aviva Canada customer and Québec police officer, Mr. Jean Barbeau, in connection with a staged vehicle theft. The sentence, one of Canada’s stiffest penalties involving insurance fraud, is a significant step in deterring would be fraudsters from preying on the insurance system that honest Canadians support.

On November 28, 2008, Mr. Barbeau reported to police that his truck had been stolen from his home in Sainte-Catherine, Québec. He submitted a claim to Aviva Canada for the stolen truck, as well as the tools that were in it, for which he subsequently received a claim payout from Aviva Canada. On July 17, 2009, police recovered the truck from the St. Lawrence River, a few kilometres from Mr. Barbeau’s home. The vehicle identification number and license plate had been removed. Police used the serial number on the door of the truck to trace the ownership and notified Aviva Canada of the recovery.

Due to the nature of the theft and circumstances of the recovery, Aviva Canada initiated an investigation into Mr. Barbeau’s original claim. Throughout the investigation, Mr. Barbeau knowingly provided false and misleading information under oath as well as forged documents, and instructed his family members not to speak to police.

Acting on information from Aviva Canada, the Sûreté du Québec l launched an investigation into the theft of the truck and on January 19, 2011, charged Mr. Barbeau with the following counts:

  • Fraud Over $5,000
  • Forgery
  • Uttering a Forged Document  
  • Possession of a Forged Document  
  • Attempt to Obstruct Justice
  • Public Mischief

Resulting in higher premiums for customers and unnecessarily tying up valuable resources of public authorities, the staged vehicle theft trend persists in the insurance industry, contributing to the more than $1 billion per year insurance fraud problem in Canada. Aviva Canada remains committed to protecting honest customers from the fraudulent minority by continuing to take action on not only this trend but also the wider issue of insurance fraud.

“There are various motives for individuals to stage the theft of their vehicles," said Christopher Lang, Senior Manager, Fraud Management, Aviva Canada.  “One of the most common is when someone has not complied with their vehicle leasing agreement. Rather than pay the penalties under the agreement, they stage a vehicle theft to rid themselves of the financial burden. Insurers are always on the lookout for potentially staged vehicle thefts because their honest customers will ultimately end up paying higher premiums.  We vigorously pursue prosecution to avoid passing that responsibility on to them.”

What can you do to help protect affordable insurance premiums for all Canadians?  Report potential fraud to Aviva Canada’s Fraud Information Centre — available 24/7. Email: fraud.canada@aviva.com or call their hotline at 1 855 332 5255.


About Aviva Canada

Aviva Canada Inc. is one of the leading property and casualty insurance groups in the country providing home, automobile, leisure/lifestyle and business insurance to 2.9 million customers. A wholly-owned subsidiary of UK-based Aviva plc, the company has more than 4,000 employees focused on creating a bright and sustainable future for their customers and communities.

Aviva Canada invests in positive change through the Aviva Community Fund, Canada’s longest running online community funding competition. Since its inception in 2009, the Aviva Community Fund has awarded $7.5 million to over 250 charities and community groups nationwide. Aviva Canada, bringing over 300 years of good thinking and insurance solutions to Canadians from coast-to-coast.

For more information visit Aviva Canada’s Corporate Responsibility page, or blogTwitterFacebook and LinkedIn pages.

Media Contact:
Priscilla Wong
Public Relations Specialist
Aviva Canada Inc.
Desk: 416 288 6780
Mobile: 647 208 7523
Email: priscilla.y.wong@aviva.com