Insurance broker in court

After four postponements, a local insurance broker was back in court this week. Joanne Walker, owner of Territories Insurance Solutions, is facing…

After four postponements, a local insurance broker was back in court this week.

Joanne Walker, owner of Territories Insurance Solutions, is facing 28 charges, including fraud and theft.

After attending court numerous times without council, Joanne Walker appeared on Wednesday with her lawyer to enter a guilty plea.

Whitehorse-based lawyer Robert Dick is representing her.

During the hearing, Walker pleaded guilty to the first of the 28 charges.

According to documents filed in court “… she did steal money in the form of insurance premiums.”

A pre-sentence report was also ordered during the hearing.

The report will outline Walker’s life history to help the judge decide on sentence.

A probe of Walker’s practice began early last July.

The Yukon government initiated the investigation into the insurance company

It set out to determine if the company was following rules set out in the Yukon Insurance Act.

As a result, Walker’s licence was suspended that same month.

However, in the fall the government released its findings, ruling the business was breaking rules in the Yukon Insurance Act.

According to government estimates, policies sold for homes, vehicles and commercial liability totaled more than $100,000.

About 120 Yukoners had taken out insurance policies with Walker’s company.

An RCMP investigation into complaints that Walker was issuing fraudulent insurance policies began in August.

Walker was set to appear in court Friday, but the hearing has been rescheduled.

She is now scheduled to appear in court on February 27 to fix a date for trial. (CO)


Impersonation, fraud

and tight-lipped cops

A recent attempt to bilk a local business of some cash has a Raymond Chandler feel to it.

The basic elements of a good detective novel are there — prominent people, impersonation, fraud, travel and a police investigation.

In a terse release, RCMP reported early this week that an unknown man had tried to trick a Whitehorse business into giving him money.

The man contacted the business pretending to be someone the owner knew, according to police.

There was a family emergency, the suspect told the business over the phone, and the guy needed money to travel to BC.

The man promised to reimburse the business when he got home.

Police are not releasing the name of the business or the person the fellow impersonated.

There have been “similar complaints in different provinces involving the same suspect,” according to the release.

However, police would not specify which provinces.

In the wake of the attempted fraud, RCMP are reminding the public to be vigilant with all financial matters discussed over the phone.

Police are continuing to investigate the case. (CO)


Celluloid heroes

migrate North

Hollywood appears to be extending its northern border.

US directors have long looked beyond the 49th parallel to get more bang for their production buck.

And if the Yukon is any measure of the migratory pattern of moviemakers, the industry is now making inroads North of 60.

Money generated from the film industry in the territory came close to doubling in 2005.

At year-end, movies, commercials and TV shows shot in the territory produced $4.1 million.

This is up from $2.5 million in 2004, according to a release from the Economic Development department.

Cameras were rolling up here for a variety of reasons, including 2005’s record snowfalls and $715,000 in government grants, the release said.

One of last year’s highlights was the filming of CBC series Northern Town.

Making use of about 250 local workers, the production was covered in Yukon fingerprints.

The five-week production was also written and produced by the Yukon’s Daniel Janke.

What is the forecast for 2006?

With two TV series looking to set the scene in the Yukon, Premier Dennis Fentie says he’s looking forward to another busy year. (CO)