Final Fraudster Sentenced in Crash for Cash Scam
29 August 2014
The final defendant in an organised Crash for Cash scam has been sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years, at Reading Crown Court.
Along with two others, Bernie Bautista played a role in seven collisions across the Thames Valley and Metropolitan Police areas and in the organisation of a further 76 collisions. The three sentenced were:
- Nasir Mahmood, aged 32, of Morpeth Close, Whitley, Reading – sentenced to four years in prison
- Aniela Chaudhry, aged 39, of Alan Place, Reading – sentenced to 21 months in prison
- Bernie Bautista, aged 43, of Elm Park Road, Reading – sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for two years, and 150 hours unpaid work
In order to induce the accidents, the trio used two vehicles driving in convoy. The first vehicle would make an erratic manoeuvre; causing the second vehicle to brake suddenly and an innocent road user collide with the rear of it.
The scale of the fraud was uncovered by Thames Valley Police, with the support of the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB). In August 2012, Thames Valley Police executed a series of search warrants in the Reading area. Officers recovered paperwork and handwritten notes, which corresponded to a further 76 collisions, from the home of Aniela Chaudhry. Forensic evidence linked the material to Nasir Mahmood who was organising these collisions.
Investigating officer, Det Con Russell Prentice of the Thames Valley Police Economic Crime Unit said: “Crash for cash fraud has an impact on the safety of everyday road users when fraudsters chose to deliberately cause traffic collisions for their own financial gain.”
“Thames Valley Police will always undertake a complete, detailed and thorough investigation into persons who organise and participate in crash for cash fraud.
“Thames Valley Police continues to work with partner agencies including the Insurance Fraud Bureau and the Crown Prosecution Service to disrupt and prosecute this type of fraud.”
Latest figures from the Association of British Insurers estimate the total value of detected insurance fraud at £1.3bn, which adds around £50 to the cost of household insurances.
Ben Fletcher, IFB Director said:
“Crash for Cash is a national problem that costs almost £400 million each year and puts innocent road users in harm’s way. The notion of a ‘victimless crime’ is outdated and the prison terms handed down today rightfully reflect the severity of the offense.”
Should members of the public have any information or intelligence on crash of cash fraud please contact the Insurance Fraud Bureau’s free and confidential Cheatline, by calling 0800 422 0421.