Monday, November 17, 2008

Cash For Crash

A few stories - Luton :

The 13-man gang was sentenced at St Albans Crown Court 4 August. It had been making dishonest claims to insurance companies for compensation totalling more than £250,000 relating to road traffic collisions that had never happened. Members of the gang were associates or relatives of two brothers, Bobby and Umear Gul. One of the gang-members was a partner at a garage in Luton, which claimed to have towed away vehicles from the staged-accident scenes. Investigations began when the Hertfordshire Constabulary officers contacted the IFB because some of the collisions hadn’t been reported to police. The IFB subsequently identified numerous interlinked car insurance claims. Officers took hundreds of statements from insurance companies, auction houses, vehicle examiners and other related agencies as part of investigations.

The gang's sentences. Not exactly hefty deterrent sentences, to put it mildly :

Umear GUL (30)
Rickmansworth Rd, Watford
Sentenced to two and a half years' imprisonment.

Ummar HUSSAIN (29)
Leagrave Rd, Luton, Beds
Sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment.

John DAVIES (43)
Rickmansworth Rd, Watford
Six-month suspended sentence.

Nichola DAVIES (38)
Rickmansworth Rd, Watford
Four-month suspended sentence.

Charlotte BATES (26)
Courtlands Close, Watford
Sixteen-week suspended sentence.

Umbreen RAHMAN (33)
Busch Close, Isleworth, London
Sixteen-week suspended sentence.

Nabeel SARWAR (25)
HMP - Serving a sentence for a previous fraud
Sentenced to four months' imprisonment.

Nadeem BUTT (38)
Charlock Way, Watford
Twenty-week suspended sentence.

Stephen CARVER (37)
Lark Rise, Hatfield
Twenty-week suspended sentence

Shuaib SIDDIQY (30)
Denbigh Rd, Luton
Four-month suspended sentence

Allan ELTON (41)
Ackworth Crescent, Luton
Twenty-week suspended sentence

Khaleeq UR-EHMAN (30)
Milford Close, St Albans
Six-month suspended sentence

Bolton :

A MOTORIST admitted deliberately causing car crashes so he could make bogus insurance claims. Mohammed Patel, aged 23, tried to make people crash into him by braking suddenly and swerving, then used false witness statements to back up insurance claims, a court heard. Patel, of Nottingham Drive, Bolton, admitted to 17 charges, including conspiracy to commit fraud, dangerous driving and driving whilst disqualified when he appeared at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester. He is one of the first to be charged with this kind of crime in an ongoing investigation by the police and the Insurance Fraud Bureau.

Figures released by the IFB show that Bolton is the fifth worst town in the country for “crash for cash” fraud. The IFB estimates that there have been 986 staged accidents in Bolton since 1999, placing the town above Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield and Newcastle in the hotspot rankings. Only Blackburn, Bradford, Birmingham and Oldham have worse records.

Hmm. Blackburn, Bradford, Birmingham, Oldham and Bolton. What could be the common factor here ? It must be that they all vote Labour or Lib Dem !

This sounds a little more sophisticated :

The director of a multi million pound accident management company was arrested for conspiracy to scam UK motor insurers.

The 23 year-old director has possibly made millions by submitting fraudulent accident claims to insurers and has covered this activity by engaging in other business activities, including involvement in numerous London-based accident management companies.

Officers from the Traffic Operational Command Unit began their investigation, codenamed Operation Scarp, eight months ago when insurance companies identified irregularities in the claims being made and the IFB contacted the police.

So-called 'cash for crash' scams have typically involved staged crashes, where fictitious paper-based claims were submitted to insurance companies. They have usually involved a low and high value car, where the low value car was 'at fault'. The party was able to reap maximum pay-out from the claim, including cost of repair, vehicle storage and significant sums for often phony courtesy cars.

In the case of the arrested man, detectives estimated that the director was making an average of £40,000 per dishonest claim by engaging in this type of activity. Part of this sum was generated by his company’s leasing business, which specialised in hiring out high value vehicles such as Mercedes, BMWs and Jaguars costing insurance companies several hundred pounds a day.