Skip to main content

Victims of ICBC breach that led to arsons, shootings awarded $15K each

A surveillance image shows an arson attack linked to a breach of ICBC customer information. A surveillance image shows an arson attack linked to a breach of ICBC customer information.

The 79 victims of an ICBC data breach that was linked to a series of shooting and arson attacks beginning in 2011 have been awarded $15,000 each in damages.

The payouts are the result of a class-action lawsuit that has been winding through the B.C. court system for more than a decade, beginning shortly after the attacks took place.

The courts heard ICBC adjuster Candy Elaine Rheaume searched the public insurer’s database and sold information on dozens of customers to people she knew had “a criminal intention.”

Homes and vehicles belonging to 13 victims across the Lower Mainland were subsequently targeted between April 2011 and January 2012.

The only thing the targets had in common was that their vehicles had at some point been parked outside the Justice Institute of British Columbia.

ICBC fought the class-action lawsuit with multiple appeals, then pushed for a “baseline” payout of $500 for each of the impacted customers, who could then argue for additional damages depending on how much each individual was affected.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Nathan Smith found $15,000 per class member would be more appropriate.

Smith suggested accountability in these kinds of cases is “of particular importance” now that large corporations routinely “collect and electronically store vast amounts of personal information about everyone they deal with.”

“The people who provide that information often have no meaningful choice about whether to do so,” Smith wrote in his June 3 decision. “In this case, anyone in British Columbia who wishes to own or drive a motor vehicle must provide information to ICBC.”

The judge also approved lawyers' fees of 35 per cent to be deducted from the class-wide damages.

ICBC fired Rheaume after the breach was uncovered, and she was later charged and pleaded guilty to unauthorized use of a computer.

The attacks were perpetrated by Vincent Eric Gia-Hwa Cheung, Thurman Ronley Taffe and others, according to court documents.

Cheung, said to be the mastermind behind the terrifying campaign of violence, pleaded guilty to a slew of criminal charges in 2016 and was sentenced to 13.5 years in prison. Top Stories

Stay Connected