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Toronto-area clinics fined after insurance-fraud probe

Three Toronto-area rehabilitation clinics have been fined hundreds of thousands of dollars following convictions for insurance fraud arising from an investigation into staged collisions.

McCowan Rehabilitation Clinic of Toronto was found guilty on counts of knowingly making a false or misleading statement to an auto insurer and engaging in unfair or deceptive acts or practices.

The clinic was sentenced to the maximum fine at the time of the offence of $100,000 on each count and ordered to pay restitution to the insurers.

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Physiotherapy Clinic of Scarborough faced similar charges and was fined $100,000 after pleading guilty to making false statements.

And North York Health and Rehabilitation of Toronto has been convicted of similar charges but remains before the courts for sentencing.

Rick Dubin of the Insurance Bureau of Canada says he's "very encouraged" that the courts acknowledged the seriousness of the offences and imposed stiff penalties.

Insurers were first alerted to allegations of medical service provider identity thefts in April, 2010.

Insurance companies identified widespread concerns involving multiple facilities and Toronto police launched Project Whiplash to investigate suspected staged collisions.

Insurers paid out an estimated $4-million in fraudulent claims as a result of the widespread scam.

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