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IFB welcomes sentencing of £1 million ‘crash for cash’ fraudsters

27 April 2015

The IFB has welcomed the sentencing of a group of 'crash for cash' insurance fraudsters explaining that they should serve as a powerful warning to other would-be fraudsters. The group’s ringleader received a prison sentence of six-and-a-half years for his role in the scam.

The fraudsters, sentenced on Friday 24 April 2015 at Manchester Crown Court, staged seven accidents in Chester over a 15-month period, targeting buses owned by First Bus. The scams involved the submission of over 200 false personal injury claims. The IFB supported First Bus and Cheshire Constabulary’s investigations into the series of suspicious bus accidents.

During the trial, which ended 1 April 2015, the jury heard how:

  • John Smith, the ringleader, organised a number of minor collisions in and around the Chester area to create new claimants for his business

 

  • the investigation by officers from Chester CID centred on a total of seven collisions which took place between October 2010 and January 2012

 

  • all of the collisions followed similar scenarios, in which a car would collide with the side of a bus (the gang targeted vehicles owned by First Bus causing both minimal impact and minimal damage)

 

  • in each case the driver of the car would admit full liability, allowing all of the passengers from the bus to submit personal injury claims.

 

Commenting on the sentencing, Ben Fletcher, Director of the IFB, said:

“The idea that ‘crash for cash’ scams are a victimless crime is completely out-dated and this sentencing reflects how seriously the courts treat insurance fraud.

“The reality is that ‘crash for cash’ scams cost £400 million a year and it’s the honest policy holder who is footing the bill while the lives of innocent people are being put at risk.

“The message is clear - if you are committing insurance fraud the risk of being caught and prosecuted is very real. The IFB works with the insurance industry, the police and organisations like First Bus to detect fraudsters and bring them to justice. The consequences for insurance fraudsters are life-changing as they face the prospect of heavy fines, a criminal record and imprisonment plus potentially restricted access to financial services.”

Currently the IFB is co-ordinating 110+ live operations into organised fraud, valued in excess of £120 million. Since the IFB was created in 2006 it has worked in partnership with police forces across the UK to support over 1,000 arrests leading to over 260 years in prison for convicted fraudsters.

Members of the public can play their role in fighting back against ‘crash for cash’ scams and other types of insurance fraud by reporting what they know to the IFB’s Cheatline. The Cheatline, which is powered by Crimestoppers, is a free service that enables members of the public to anonymously report information or suspicions about insurance fraud by calling 0800 422 0421 or reporting online through the IFB website at www.insurancefraudbureau.org. All information provided to the Cheatline, by telephone or online, is treated in the strictest confidence.

Fletcher continued: “Over 500 reports are made to the Cheatline every month and these reports show that the public shares our contempt for insurance fraud. The Cheatline is a free, anonymous service that helps us to identify fraudsters and bring them to justice.

“If you have been asked to take part in a fake accident, or you know about insurance scams, or you have suspicions about the activities of others then please contact the Cheatline and tell us what you know in complete confidence.”

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