Car Crash-For-Cash Gang Jailed For £1.1 Million Fraud
Car crash insurance scam techniques revealed, expert testimony that led to convictions and a judge's perspective.
Mastermind jailed for 5 years
A Metropolitan Police investigation into fraudulent, crash-for-cash, insurance claims worth £1.1 million concluded with the conviction of 19 members of an accident management firm in December 2016. Mohammed Zubair Jamil, 35, - Director of SAS Accident Management – ran the operation and was found guilty of multiple frauds at Harrow Crown Court. He received a 5 year prison sentence.
How crash-for-cash worked
A typical, crash-for-cash, collision required a decoy vehicle to brake hard in traffic, then continue. A second, following, vehicle that also contained members of the fraudulent firm then stopped fast “to avoid an impact”. However, the third vehicle in the line – the victim's – lacked the time to follow suit so struck the second.
Fraudsters in the second vehicle then submitted personal injury claims to insurance companies. It was subsequently estimated that the gang caused about 300 collisions. APU Ltd is a legitimate accident investigation specialist and its testimony helped convict the gang – 5 of whom received custodial sentences of up to 5 years.
Some evidence came via a telematics box installed in one of the criminal's vehicles. Such a machine measures parameters such as speed, the ferocity of acceleration and sharpness of braking. Neil Thomas, Director of Investigative Services for APU Ltd, explained:
“The depth of data available via cutting edge telematics systems necessitates a scientific approach to interpret crucial information into meaningful evidence. It needs to be presented in court so that the layman can understand it”.
“This particular criminal network caused hundreds of fake accidents, all of which were planned but any of which could have gone badly wrong.” The gang “put lives at risk”, Mr Thomas stated.
Fraudsters condemned by judge
Judge, HH J Barrie, said: “The idea that crash-for-cash frauds are victimless crimes has to be rebuffed immediately. The impact of this offending on the insurance industry is substantial and this in turn leads to routine increases in insurance premiums for the wider public.”
Barrie continued: “The manner of the driving in the collisions is inherently dangerous involving the sudden slamming on of brakes in traffic - often at night and often in poor weather conditions. Unlike the fraudsters, the innocent occupants of the cars behind have no opportunity to prepare or brace themselves for the impact”.
The judge concluded: “No regard is had at all for the occupants of those cars or their vulnerability. In short, the risk to innocent members of the public of serious injury or worse cannot be underestimated in this type of fraud involving deliberate dangerous driving".