The Province

Abbotsford cop gets conditiona­l discharge

DEBT REPAID: Guilty of defrauding medical insurer

- JENNIFER SALTMAN jensaltman@theprovinc­

An Abbotsford police officer asked the court for forgivenes­s and a second chance after admitting to defrauding medical insurance providers of $2,500.

“I’ve let everybody down — my family, friends, the Abbotsford Police Department and the police profession,” Const. Ravinder (Rob) Thandi said during an appearance Monday in provincial court in Abbotsford.

“I hope I can recover from this mistake with hard work and dedication, and once again become the role model I think was before.”

Thandi, 46, pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud and was sentenced to a conditiona­l discharge and one year of probation.

In 2011 Thandi, who has been with the Abbotsford police for 21 years, started a serious relationsh­ip with a woman. In late 2012 or early 2013, Thandi suggested that the woman and her son move in with him and said he could extend his health benefits to them.

They did not end up moving in, but in January 2013 Thandi applied to have the woman and her son added to his benefits. He told Pacific Blue Cross and the Medical Services Plan that they had been living together for a year so that they could be covered.

She and her son were added to Thandi’s benefits starting in April 2013. A year later, the couple split and she became involved with another man. Thandi asked to have her removed from his benefits.

A short time later, she reported the deception to the police department and an investigat­ion was begun.

Thandi was interviewe­d by a detective and admitted what he had done. Charges were approved in June 2014.

Thandi was suspended with pay, although in February 2015 that was reviewed and at that point he was suspended without pay.

As a result of the frauds, Pacific Blue Cross suffered a loss of $1,512.54 and MSP a $1,014 loss. Thandi has repaid both companies.

“His actions were not intended for his personal gain,” said defence lawyer David Silverman. “From his perspectiv­e, it was to solidify what he saw as a very good relationsh­ip with this woman.”

Silverman told the court that his client has suffered considerab­le consequenc­es — financial, personal and profession­al — as a result of his “very ill-advised idea.”

Judge Gregory Brown said he was highly concerned that such an act of dishonesty was committed by a police officer in the community.

“Even when a police officer is off duty the public expects the officer to conduct himself with honesty and integrity,” Brown said. “That didn’t occur in this case.”

However, he cited a number of mitigating factors that led him to accede to a joint submission from Crown and defence for a conditiona­l discharge.

Those factors included an early guilty plea, Thandi’s co-operation with police, his struggle with mental health issues, the “great fallout” from the crime and letters of support.

“It appears to me this event was completely out of character for Mr. Thandi,” Brown said.

Thandi’s probation includes a condition that he complete 75 hours of community service. If he abides by the conditions of his probation he will not have a criminal record. Thandi said he thought the judge was fair. “I did something wrong and he dealt with me appropriat­ely. I’m a police officer and I know I’m held to a higher standard, so I’m quite happy with what the judge did today.”

 ?? JENNIFER SALTMAN/THE PROVINCE ?? Const. Ravinder (Rob) Thandi pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud and was sentenced to a conditiona­l discharge.
JENNIFER SALTMAN/THE PROVINCE Const. Ravinder (Rob) Thandi pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud and was sentenced to a conditiona­l discharge.

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