Thinking their dishonesty was going unnoticed, two insurance fraudsters built a sophisticated web of deceit involving identity crime, credit card fraud and insurance fraud. They were wrong and this month their crimes caught up with them as they were jailed for four and a half years.
The plan involved creating insurance policies for people who did not exist and then submitting 300 false personal injury referrals, worth £167,000, for ‘made up’ road accidents.
Israr Hussain and Shazad Shad were sentenced after earlier pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Their co-conspirators Ansar Mahmood and Muhammad Taj received suspended prison sentences and community service after pleading guilty to laundering money through their personal bank accounts.
The convictions followed a detailed investigation by the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED).
Between 2011 and 2014 Hussain and Shad, both from Keighley, set up hundreds of false car insurance policies using stolen identity documents and registered them to vehicles in which the ‘policyholder’ had no insurable interest. Stolen credit card details, many of which were taken from elderly and vulnerable women, were used to pay the premiums and false bank account details were provided to cover the direct debits.
The fraudsters then proceeded to submit details of false road traffic collisions to insurance companies, enabling them to making claims against the policies they had created. These claims were sold on to solicitors firms with the gang, posing as claims management companies, receiving personal injury referral fees.
The fraud started to unravel when Quinn Insurance and the Insurance Fraud Bureau made referrals to IFED in 2013, which subsequently launched a criminal investigation.
Ben Fletcher, Director of the IFB, said: “Fake accidents like those carried out by these fraudsters form part of the ‘crash for cash’ insurance fraud phenomenon which we estimate costs the honest policyholder almost £400 million every year. This operation highlights to insurance fraudsters that the risk of being caught and prosecuted is high as the IFB and the insurance industry work closely with the police to detect and disrupt insurance fraud scams, however sophisticated they may be.
“Insurance fraudsters should remember that once caught then they face the prospect of heavy fines, a criminal record and imprisonment plus potentially restricted access to financial services in the future.”