Motorist hospitalised after buying bogus car insurance
A car enthusiast with a serious heart condition has told how she was hospitalised with chest pains after being duped into buying bogus motor insurance.
Vicky Small spoke out after Jaymz William Charlton Clarke-Tomlinson was sentenced to four years in prison for conning her and 150 other drivers, many from Hampshire and Dorset, into parting with a total of around £60,000 between November 2012 and December 2013.
An investigation by the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) revealed Clarke-Tomlinson went to great lengths to convince his victims he was a legitimate insurance broker working for a company called ‘Personal Touch Insurance’.
But in reality the 33-year-old (dob 04/08/81), of Shepherds Row in Andover, was a ‘ghost broker’ who set up the company as a front to flog motorists worthless policies that left them on the road without insurance to get cash to sustain his lifestyle.
Clarke-Tomlinson befriended many of his victims before targeting them with cheap deals, money back guarantees and discounts. He then persuaded them to pay up front straight into a bank account and provided them with a policy certificate.
He also encouraged them to recommend his company to family and friends, through his professional-looking company website and leaflets he had made up, offering some a £50 shopping voucher when they made a referral.
His crime spree came to the attention of Action Fraud in November 2013 when a handful of drivers reported that they had bought motor insurance from Personal Touch Insurance but then realised it was invalid when their car did not appear as insured on the Motor Insurance Database (MID).
Victims said they were contacted online, over the telephone and in person and supplied with what they believed to be genuine policy certificates.
Vicky was one of those victims. The 40-year-old from Bournemouth met Clarke-Tomlinson, who she knew as ‘John Langford’, through a friend.
In July 2013 he told her he worked for Personal Touch Insurance and could beat any car insurance quote she had got on her Subaru Impreza by 20% and if not he would give her £100.
He said his ‘platinum package’ would see her fully insured to drive any car and she would not have to pay an excess if she made a claim.
He offered a further five per cent discount if she paid the total cost of an annual policy up front.
Vicky paid £266 via internet banking to Clarke-Tomlinson’s Barclays bank account.
She subsequently recommended Personal Touch Insurance to her family and friends as well as other car enthusiasts through various online forums and groups she belonged to.
She drove during the 2013 Cannonball GT Tunnel Run with a large Personal Touch Insurance sticker attached to the side of her car that Clarke-Tomlinson had had made especially for the event.
Vicky’s friends later told her their vehicles were not showing up as insured on the MID but Clarke-Tomlinson reassured her there were legitimate reasons for this.
However, come December 2013 Vicky could no longer reach Clarke-Tomlinson and suspicions heighted she made a report to Action Fraud.
Action Fraud sent the reports to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau where its Cyber Prevention and Disruption Team worked with IFED to shut down the Personal Touch Insurance website.
Tradex Insurance and Tradewise Insurance Services Ltd then referred into IFED that drivers were being fraudulently added to motor trade insurance policies.
IFED detectives uncovered that the motor trade policies linked to two bank accounts owned by Clarke-Tomlinson.
They identified further victims of his scam from the money they had paid into the bank accounts.
Detectives examination of policy certificates provided to victims revealed them to be forged CIS General insurance documents in the name of a member of Clarke-Tomlinson’s family.
They also discovered Clarke-Tomlinson had used a number of aliases to carry out his fraud including ‘Brendan Dolman’ and ‘John Langford’.
Scrutiny of the Personal Touch Insurance website revealed the location, directors and FSA number details listed to be fabricated.
Clarke-Tomlinson was arrested by detectives in November 2014 at his workplace in Winchester.
That same month he appeared at Southampton Crown Court charged with fraud offences and was remanded into custody.
In April 2015, at the same court, he pleaded guilty to 18 counts of fraud by false representation and one of forgery.
Talking about the impact falling victim to Clarke-Tomlinson’s scam had on her, Vicky said, ‘I could not sleep and was hospitalised due to the stress this put on my heart.
‘I was driving around uninsured, it does not bear thinking about what would have happened if I have had an accident and injured somebody.
‘I found out I was uninsured just before Christmas 2013, I had saved up £400 for food and presents but ended up having to use that money to buy a legitimate car insurance.
‘I have lost friends over this, people have distanced themselves from me. I do not trust my own judgement anymore, it has knocked my confidence.’
City of London Police Detective Constable Gary Kearley, who led the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department’s investigation, said, ‘Clarke-Tomlinson went to extraordinary lengths to sell his bogus car insurance, even befriending many of his victims to target them and their loved ones.