HUBRIS: Special Investigation Unit Uses Social Media to Catch Defrauder Red-Handed on Facebook

by Knowlton Thomas | Culture

Corbin Lewis Joseph was prohibited from driving in 2009 after operating a vehicle while drunk and rolling his truck into a ditch on a rural road outside of Springhouse, a small community west of Williams Lake. The truck was totalled, though fortunately no one in the vehicle was seriously injured. Still, it seemed like a bad situation for the young man—but he had a plan.

The 22-year-old, now 24, convinced a friend to tell the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia that she was driving the truck at the time of the crash. This way, he could collect insurance on the totalled vehicle. His plan worked, and he did collect—a whopping $18,000, in fact.

But then Corbin's hubris triggered a major backfire. He couldn't help but brag on Facebook that he drove drunk, crashed his truck, and defrauded ICBC for over $18,000—after all, doesn't that make him sound totally cool? But unfortunately for him, ICBC's special investigation unit utilizes social media and discovered this precious online artifact. 

In desperation, Corbin begged his female friend to continue the ruse, offering her money and legal help, spamming her with texts and emails. Instead, she wisely cooperated with ICBC.

Now, Corbin—who has a history of speeding tickets—must pay $2,000 in fines and $18,360 in restitution. He must also serve a three-month conditional sentence order and six months of probation after that. 

ICBC noted that its SIU cannot dig into social media with the same depth of penetration as police during investigations. It can "only access what the general public can see," according to spokesman Mark Jan Vrem. But these days, that seems to be plenty. 


Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC)
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia is a provincial Crown corporation established in 1973 to provide universal auto insurance to B.C. motorists. We're also responsible for driver licensing, and vehicle licensing and registration. more

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Facebook's mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. Millions of people use Facebook everyday to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet. more

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Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton is the managing editor of Techvibes and author of Tempest Bound. Based in Vancouver, Knowlton has been published in national publications and has also appeared on television and radio. Previously he was an editor for New Westminster weekly The Other Press and served on its board of directors. When not working, Knowlton enjoys hiking, tennis, and martial arts. more

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