Trio sentenced for crash-for-cash plans

Three people have been handed suspended prison sentences and ordered to pay fines after planning a crash-for-cash scam.

An investigation by the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) uncovered the scam after forensic engineers spotted the vehicles had been driven into each other four times, which was contrary to the accounts given by the claimants.

Faisal Saeidi, 26, of Balmoral Road, Liverpool, Ffion Owen, 25, of Golan, Gwynedd, North Wales and Keiran Hodson, 24, of Carlett View, Liverpool, were sentenced on 29 January, after they previously pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation at Liverpool Crown Court.

They were sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, and were each ordered to pay £3,000 in compensation to Direct Line. The insurance company would have paid out over £38,000 in claims had the fraud not been uncovered.

The incident happened in March 2013, when Owen contacted Direct Line to inform that she had been involved in a collision between her Ford Focus and Saeidi’s Audi A4 whilst driving near Sefton Park, Liverpool. Owen claimed to have driven into Saeidi’s vehicle causing extensive damage to both.

Further claims were made against Owen’s policy by Saeidi for damage to his car. There were also multiple personal injury claims for passengers present at the time of the collision, including Hodson, who was Owen’s boyfriend at the time.

Direct Line appointed a claim investigator, and when a forensic engineer examined the vehicles, he found the cars had collided with each other at least four times, rather than the one occasion claimed.

The case was subsequently referred to IFED officers to investigate. Hodson was arrested and Owen voluntarily attended an interview with police in October 2014.

In interviews, the pair admitted planning the collision with Saeidi as Owen’s car was old and needed replacing, and Saeidi’s car’s bumper also needed replacing.

Saeidi was arrested in February 2015. When detectives seized his phones, they found messages containing the registration number of Owen’s car, along with messages sent to Hodson.

IFED investigator Abdelkader Rezkallah, who investigated the case said, ‘This crash-for-cash scam was pre-planned together by Owen, Hodson and Saeidi to make a quick profit at their insurer’s expense. Despite knowing it was wrong, they still made the insurance claims and lied about how it had happened.

‘This should serve as a warning to others thinking of doing similar that there are serious consequences to making false insurance claims. Crash-for-cash scams will be rooted out and those involved could be prosecuted and end up with a criminal conviction.’