‘Crash for cash’ scam uncovered

A couple from Manchester who made up a car crash and then encouraged family and friends to falsely claim they were involved in the crash, in an effort to get tens of thousands of pounds in insurance payments, have been jailed for a total of three years.

Dale Bowers and Michelle Culff were sentenced alongside six accomplices who fraudulently claimed they were involved in a crash, in an attempt to get payouts from Saga. Three of the six, including Culff’s 62 year old mother Eileen, were also jailed and the other three given suspended prison terms.

Eileen Culff reported to Saga that she had been driving her Nissan Micra when she crashed in to the back of Bower’s BMW in Wigan in October 2012. She claimed that three friends, including Michelle Culff’s partner, were also travelling in the vehicle.

Mr Bower’s claimed that both his partner and brother were also travelling with him at the time of the alleged incident.

All supposed occupants of both cars made whiplash claims worth between £4,300 and £7,435, while Bowers’ claimed on car repairs and courtesy car costs which totalled almost £90,000.

An investigation conducted by the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) and Saga found inconsistencies with the reports of the accident and the physical damage to the vehicles that were supposedly involved in the incident.

When questioned, Eileen Cullf admitted there had never been an incident and that her daughter had set the scheme up. Michelle Culff claims she was paid by a third party who orchestrated the entire scam.

IFED detective constable Paula Doyle said, ‘Dale Bowers and Michelle Culff made up a car crash in a bid to make money for themselves and their loved ones. ‘

‘But their actions and their family and friends’ willingness to get involved in the scam has led to them all being labelled as criminals and landed most of them behind bars.’

Dale Bowers was given two years in prison, while Michelle and Eileen Culff were given 16 months and eight months respectively at a hearing at Liverpool Crown Court on 30 July.

Saga director Paul Green added, ‘Saga’s honest customers should not have to pay for the crimes committed by insurance fraudsters. That is why we have robust, sophisticated and uncompromising ways to detect fraudulent acts and will look to punish these criminals wherever possible.’

IFED has applied to the court under the Proceeds of Crime Act to recover the money fraudulently gained in this scam.