Crash for cash gang convicted

An organized criminal gang of six men, who carried out Crash for Cash insurance fraud, have been convicted at court.

An organised criminal gang who carried out ‘Crash-for-Cash’ insurance scams, and who also attempted to defraud the UK insurance industry of Circa £5.6million pounds, have been found guilty of ‘conspiracy to defraud’, following a five-week trial at Isleworth Crown Court.

The defendants who will be sentenced on 2nd October 2015 are:

Muhammad Akik Miah, 38, (8.11.1976) Exeter Road, Hounslow

Jalid Hanadzai, 24, (01.01.1991) Gaydon Lane, Barnet

Samoon Baryali, 39, (05.06.1976) Evelyn Avenue, Barnet

Mohammad Farshad Samoon, 28, (26.12.1986) Evelyn Avenue, Barnet

Yousaf Haider, 44, (06.08.1970) Tansy Close, Newham

Afaq Anjum Njum, 36, (28.10.1978) Bayden Avenue, Salford, Lancashire

The convictions follow an intensive investigation and operation by the Metropolitan Police Service (Operation Catcher), which was supported by Zurich Insurance, Direct Line Insurance Group, and the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB).

The gang operated a claims management company called ‘Herald Claims Limited’, (which had previously traded under the names of ‘Euro Claim Management’ and ‘FS Claim management’), from an office block in North London, where fraudulent or inflated insurance claims would be submitted following ‘Crash-for-Cash’ collisions, which had been orchestrated by the gang.

The gang’s criminal activity came to the attention of the MPS Roads and Transport Policing Command who mounted a thorough and comprehensive investigation.

The investigation identified that the gang would recruit car owners who would be willing to hand over their cars to be deliberately crashed into (commonly referred to as the ‘stooge vehicle’). The gang would then drive their vehicle (the decoy car) in convoy with the stooge vehicle. The two vehicles would travel up and down various stretches of road until a suitable victim was identified. The two vehicles would then position themselves directly in front of the victim’s car and then at an opportune moment the decoy vehicle would brake hard, causing the stooge vehicle to brake, over exaggerate the braking and stop, resulting in the victim’s vehicle crashing into the back of their vehicle.

Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Rickett, Roads and Transport Policing Command said, ‘This was an audacious, criminal act, carried out by unscrupulous people whose sole aim was to line their pockets at the expense of their victims. They did not care whatsoever that their reckless acts endangered the lives of innocent people.’

‘We are committed to detecting, disrupting and arresting those involved in crime as demonstrated by our thorough and robust investigation, which left no stone unturned in catching these offenders.’

Scott Clayton, Claims Fraud and Investigations Manager with Zurich Insurance said,Convictions such as these demonstrate the value of collaboration between Insurers and the Metropolitan Police. We are delighted that the perpetrators of this fraud have been brought to justice.”

Mark Chiappino, counter fraud manager with Direct Line Group said, ‘Insurance fraud of this nature is far from a victimless crime and there has been at least one innocent fatality following a “crash for cash” incident. It is estimated by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) to add £50 a year to the average household’s insurance premiums, to cover the cost of paying fraudulent insurance claims.’

Chiappino continues, ‘At Direct Line Group, we detect and deter as much fraud as possible, from a collaborative approach including sophisticated data analysis, the use of intelligence and highly skilled investigators, across our whole business.   We work with all Law Enforcement Agencies to assist them in preparing cases for criminal prosecution.  Successful prosecutions like this one, protects the wider public from these scams and enables us to protect the premiums of our innocent customers.’    

Ben Fletcher, director of the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) said, ‘Induced accidents like this form part of the ‘crash for cash’ insurance fraud phenomenon and the reality is that these scams have a real impact on society by putting the lives of innocent people at risk and costing honest policy holders almost £400 million each year. Insurance cheats should be aware that the Insurance Fraud Bureau works very closely with the police and the insurance industry to detect fraudsters and bring them to justice.’