Investigation snares 77 fraudsters
A series of trials in which a total of 77 fraudsters either pleaded or were found guilty for their role in a major insurance fraud scam has concluded.
It follows the second phase of one of the largest investigations into car insurance fraud in the UK. The operation was carried out by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) in collaboration with its insurer members and Gwent Police.
The original case, which concluded in 2015, saw 81 people prosecuted for their role in the crash for cash scam, in which the fraudsters staged accidents with 57 different vehicles. The investigation uncovered that vehicles were purposefully being crashed into each other so the fraudsters could submit exaggerated and falsified claims in an attempt to increase pay-outs for vehicle damage and personal injury.
Gwent Police had been investigating the conspiracy, which centred around a garage in Cardiff called ‘EASIFIX’, for four-and-a half years and approached IFB in 2011 to help identify the extent of the fraudulent activity. The IFB were able to link the damaged vehicles as well as vehicle parts found at the garage with a number of deceptive insurance claims. Using their advanced analytical systems, IFB were able to initially identify 60 incidents involving around 150 claimants, resulting in the eventual arrest and charging of 87 people by Gwent Police. 81 people were then prosecuted for a range of offences, including conspiracy to defraud and fraud by misrepresentation.
Following the original investigation, a further 22 staged incidents and an additional 80 individuals were identified as being linked to the scam. After the success of the first phase of the investigation, Gwent Police went on to pursue all of the other individuals involved in order to bring them to justice in phase two of the operation.
As a result, on 22 May 2017, the individuals were summonsed to Cwmbran Magistrates’ Court, with 80 being charged with fraud offences relating to the additional 22 incidents. At the time, 15 of the individuals entered guilty pleas at the court, with a further 62 since pleading guilty or being found guilty. Three were found not guilty. Friday marked the conclusion of these trials, with the last of the defendants being handed their verdicts.
Jason Potter, IFB’s head of investigations, commented, ‘This is a continuation of one of the largest and longest investigations that IFB has been involved in and we’re extremely pleased that the guilty parties in this major scam were pursued for their crimes following a successful collaboration with Gwent Police and our insurer members.’