Dozens suspected of billing fake root canals to company insurance

Dozens of employees from the same Montreal company are now suspected of being in on a big workplace conspiracy to file fake dental claims with the employers' group insurance plan.

La Presse reports that 88 employees of telecommunications company Shaw Direct filed claims with their insurance company, Great-West Life, for procedures such as root canals that they never underwent. 

The allegations suggest the employees would then file claims with the company, and would split the proceeds with the scheme's three ringleaders — a former Shaw Direct employee who acted as the mastermind of the operation, along with two employees who recruited others — once they got their cheques.

The individual claim cheques ranged in value from $4,500 to $29,000. The employees would typically get to keep half of the amount.

It's believed the insurance company was defrauded of nearly $700,000 over two years, 2011 and 2012. It filed a complaint with the Montreal police financial fraud division in March of 2013.

La Presse reports 35 of the workers will face charges of fraud over $5,000, along with the fabrication and use of false documents.

Jeff Macoun, an executive vice-president at Great-West Life, says the company will not comment on this particular case — except to say they take "fraud seriously and have developed and implemented sophisticated capabilities for the prevention and detection of insurance fraud."

The company also says insurance fraud is not a victimless crime, adding the cost of fraud can lead to higher premiums for everyone else.