Teenage ghost broker jailed

A 19-year-old man from Walsall has been jailed for selling fake motor insurance to unsuspecting customers, leaving them uninsured and illegally driving on the roads.

An investigation by the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED), part of the City of London Police, uncovered his ‘ghost broking’ activity and found he was selling false car insurance via adverts placed on the Gumtree website. IFED officers also worked with colleagues from PSNI (Police Service Northern Ireland) and Leicestershire Police as they pieced together the full extent of his activity.

Azeem Mahmood Hussain was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment at Wolverhampton Crown Court 1 June, having previously pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation.

On 9 October 2013, IFED officers executed a search warrant at Hussain’s address, seizing mobile phones, a laptop, bank statements and debit cards. Hussain was also interviewed by officers the following day, where he denied any knowledge of the fraud.

However, officers found over 100 templates and forged documents on the laptop and the phones matched the numbers from the Gumtree adverts. Messages found on the phones showed conversations about arranging motor insurance policies, asking various individuals for details such as names, dates of birth and addresses.

Detectives also matched the accounts into which the victims had paid money to statements, debit cards and cheque books found at Hussain’s address. Officers found over £14,000 had been paid into one of the accounts, with £2,250 into the other.

The majority of the forged certificates were made out to be policies from Allianz, although when officers checked with Allianz, they discovered none were recognised by Allianz as genuine policies.

Hussain was charged on 7 March 2016 with four counts of fraud by false representation, and subsequently pleaded guilty to the offences on 3 May at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

Detective sergeant Matt Hussey, from the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department said, ‘Hussain is one of the youngest ever people we’ve dealt with for insurance fraud and this was a crude attempt by him to make some fast cash from his bedroom.’

Sarah Mallaby, head of technical claims, Allianz Insurance said, ‘Scams such as these exploit members of the public and this significant sentence should send a message to potential ghost brokers that as an industry, we will fight against fraud every step of the way.’