Ghost broker who staged car accidents in £39k fraud sentenced
19 August 2016
An insurance fraudster from London has been sentenced after he took out several fraudulent motor insurance policies whilst acting as a ‘ghost broker’ and then staged or invented collisions in order to submit fraudulent injury claims against the various policies.
The fraudster was caught after a joint investigation by the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) and the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) linked together several disparate bogus claims back to the same person.
Hojjat Nickhoo, 32,(06/09/1983) of Derby Road, Enfield was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, at the Old Bailey yesterday (18 August) after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud.
Between October 2010 and April 2012, Nickhoo persuaded various friends and acquaintances that he could get them cheap deals on their car insurance, although he was never authorised to act as an insurance broker. He charged his victims – many of whom spoke little or no English and were from Turkish and Iranian communities in and around Enfield – between £80-£100 to take out the policies on their behalf, but he would often provide false and incorrect details for the policies, such as using false addresses to lower the premiums.
Having incepted policies on their behalf, he then went about inventing accidents and claimed he or others were injured in collisions involving some of the vehicles he’d helped to get insured. In some cases, Nickhoo persuaded the car owners to go along with the ruse and other times, he simply reported the collisions without their knowledge. Whilst none of the personal injury claims ended up being paid out, officers calculated that of the specific examples they investigated, over £39,000 worth of attempted injury claims had been submitted as part of the fraud.
The case was flagged to IFED officers after intelligence analysts at the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) identified a number of suspected fraudulent motor insurance claims against more than 20 different insurers that all had links back to Nickhoo.
Nickhoo was arrested by IFED detectives in December 2015 and when he was interviewed he admitted acting as an unauthorised insurance broker, although he initially denied that he was involved in making false claims on the policies.
Ben Fletcher, Director of the IFB said: “This sentencing sends a clear message to fraudsters that the insurance industry is committed to tackling fraud. Working with IFED, we were able to piece together a sophisticated cross-industry fraud network affecting 25 different insurers.
“The message is clear, if you are committing fraud then the risk of being caught and prosecuted is very real. Fraudsters face the prospect of heavy fines, a criminal record and imprisonment with potentially restricted access to financial services. It is simply not worth the risk.”