Skip to main content

2 plead guilty in Toronto tow truck corruption case as officer heads to trial

Two men have pleaded guilty for their roles in a sprawling insurance scam to stage car crashes and defraud insurance companies in a case with ties to Toronto's tow truck turf wars and a police officer, CTV News Toronto has learned.

And these pleas could change the dynamic of an upcoming trial where Toronto police Const. Ronald Joseph is accused of being a key part of the scheme that sparked allegedly bogus insurance claims of at least $144,000, according to a tally read out in Toronto Superior Court.

 "Those are things that enhance the strength of the prosecution's case," Calvin Barry, a lawyer for one of the men, Kevin Lima, told CTV News Toronto in an interview.

Lima hasn't been sentenced, and Barry said he could not say much about the role he will play in the upcoming September trial in the fraud allegations, which are tied to a massive set of police investigations that targeted alleged corruption in several tow truck companies, and some Toronto police and OPP officers.

"It was a big project. They invested a lot of time, undercover police and wiretaps and search warrants," Barry said.

Joseph and an associate, Marcus Dookie, have pleaded not guilty in the case. Joseph's lawyer didn't return CTV News Toronto's calls this week, but he has previously shared he welcomes a full hearing where he says the truth will come out.

In one hearing in March, prosecutors read out an agreed statement of facts that said Royal Sun Insurance paid $72,000 for a stolen Ram truck. Joseph acted as a witness in the report, but Lima admitted to just towing it away.

In another case, Lima and Joseph claimed a stolen Mercedes had been in a hit-and-run. According to the facts in the plea, an engineering report found inconsistencies in the crash, including no paint transfer and differences in the height of the damage between the cars, concluding the whole thing was staged.

The court heard Joseph made an insurance claim for a Ford Escape he was renting from his company in 2020 — in fact, it had been damaged six months earlier in a crash involving a Toronto city bus.

Joseph was also accused of cashing in another way: "All three parties attempted to rent a car with Joseph's rental company, where he would financially benefit," prosecutor Mike Kelly said at the time.

On Wednesday, Darrin Cameron pleaded guilty to one count in the scheme, where he provided a BMW to Lima for a fraudulent insurance claim. The court heard a surveillance camera caught Lima causing more damage with a hammer.

Cameron received a suspended sentence and told the court he would repay some of the $17,437.47 Wawanesa Insurance paid out.

Outside court, Cameron told reporters, "I'm actually the victim here," but neither he nor his lawyer elaborated.

The fraud charges are only some of several criminal allegations against Joseph. He is accused of cloning a police radio to get tow trucks to highway crashes faster, and getting kickbacks for tips that can be worth thousands of dollars each.

Joseph also faces several police misconduct allegations, which will be on hold until the criminal matters are over.

The Ontario government has revamped regulations for tow trucks to try and stave off corruption in the industry.

Criminal lawyer Joseph Neuberger, who doesn't represent any of the players in the trial, told CTV News Toronto that sometimes a co-accused who pleads guilty ends up sharing what they know with the authorities.

"It depends on the arrangement. If they wind up being a crown witness, the entire dynamic changes for the one who remains going to trial," he said. Top Stories

Stay Connected