By Anna Davey
Toronto, Ontario — December 22, 2015 — An ongoing Toronto Star report into police misconduct has revealed that three Peel Region officers have been alleged to have collaborated with a tow truck operator to write false collision reports. One officer has received a criminal conviction for his involvement in the scheme, while two others were subjected to internal discipline.
Wayne Isaacs, a tow operator based out of Brampton, faces criminal charges relating to the scam, which is alleged to have defrauded insurers of nearly $1 million. The alleged fraud consisted of one veteran officer writing fraudulent reports, while two other officers would alert Isaacs to the location of crashes using confidential police information.
Peel police Const. Carlton Watson had known Isaacs since the early 1990s, and considered him a friend, according to the Star report. He provided Isaacs with reports for three fictitious accidents in 2010, according to the court decision from Watson’s criminal trial.
At trial, it was heard that Isaacs gave the names and insurance information for two drivers and eight passengers to Watson, “and identified the driver to be found at fault but did not suggest a location for the accident,” according to the court decision. Isaacs testified to the court that he paid $6,000 for each report, while Watson claimed he never received money for the reports. Watson did acknowledge that he wrote collision reports without first attending the scene, and that he relied on Isaacs for information about the vehicles and damage in the supposed accidents. He testified that he thought the information was accurate and that he was just doing favours for friends.
Const. Matthew Pekeski and Officer Christy Clough were also discovered to have texted Isaacs information about crashes before dispatchers had broadcast the news to fellow officers.
“Const. Pekeski used his position as a police officer to access confidential information relating to motor vehicle collisions. He subsequently provided this information to Wayne Isaacs, a local tow truck operator, for his advantage,” the Toronto Star reports Supt. Paul Thorne as saying in his disciplinary decision against Pekeski.
Isaac claims to have never received information from Pekeksi or Clough, despite telling the Star that tow operators routinely receive information about collisions from police.
“Have I ever been (tipped off about a crash) by an officer? I’ll say yes; I have nothing to lie about,” Isaacs told the Star. Isaacs is still facing his own criminal charges.
Pekeski pleaded guilty at a disciplinary hearing and was docked nine days’ pay. He is still an officer with Peel Region. Clough was ordered to resign or be dismissed. Her appeal was rejected in 2014 and she was forced to resign from the force. Watson is currently suspended without pay and faces another disciplinary hearing in January. He is appealing his conviction.