Cash for crash ring busted

The largest car insurance fraud investigation in the UK, costing the insurance industry £763,068 has seen 81 people convicted by Gwent Police.

Following a four and a half year investigation, phase one of Operation Dino has seen five of the 81 found guilty by the jury of conspiracy to defraud with significant sentences ranging from six to two years imprisonment.

Initially set up to tackle cycle/motorbike thefts, the investigation, following a warrant in August 2011 at a garage known as Easifix in Pengam, turned into the biggest investigation of its type Gwent Police has undertaken. It is also the biggest enquiry into Insurance fraud that any force throughout the UK has tackled.

The garage in question was owned by the Yandell family from the Blackwood area. During the warrant a number of stolen vehicles or parts of vehicles were recovered, vast amounts of paperwork and their own CCTV was seized.

Initially the team did not realise what evidence they were holding and believed this was all related to vehicle thefts. It wasn’t until September when the team were reviewing some of the documents and scanning the CCTV footage, it became apparent they were dealing with something more complex.

Further investigation and interrogation of the evidence made it clear they were operating a ‘Cash for Crash scam’. Working with Gwent Police, the , the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) was able to identify the reach of this widespread fraud across the insurance industry.

Commenting on the conclusion of the trial, Ben Fletcher, director of the IFB, said, ‘Crash for cash scams have a real impact on society, putting the lives of innocent people at risk and costing honest policy holders almost £350 million each year.

‘This case sends a powerful message to the public that if you are committing insurance 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. The IFB works alongside insurers and police forces up and down the country to detect fraudsters and to bring them to justice.’

The operation has identified 28 fraudulent collisions involving 85 people and involving 57 vehicles, including one used twice.