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£2m 'cash for crash' gang jailed

Company director Mohammed Samsul Haque, 26, car salesman Rosul Yusuf, 33, company director, Shalim Miah, 29, Nazruislam Rahman, 32, surveyor Noveed Akthtar, 40 and car hire manager Halimur Rashid, 28, were all convicted at Southwark Crown Court yesterday.

The team of six staged over 120 fraudulent claims to insurers for accidents that never took place making £1.17m for themselves with the insurance companies paying out a total of £1.91 m.

The criminal gang staged 'crashes' in their business premises prior to submitting claims to the insurers for recovery and storage as well as replacement hire vehicles services that were not provided.

From November 2005 to October 2008 a number of London based accident management companies were used as a front to hide their activities.

Motor Alliance, a Tottenham based company, was set up by the scheme’s ‘mastermind’Haque to handle fraudulent claims. The business combined accident claim management with other services such as storage facilities and the hire of replacement vehicles whilst the claim was being settled.

The fraudulent claims mainly involved a low and a high value car, where the low value car was always 'at fault'. Motor Alliance purported to act for the third party 'driver' whose expensive vehicle had been hit by an insured policyholder who would admit liability.

The company provided bogus courtesy cars from stock of high value hire vehicles, such as Mercedes, BMWs and Jaguars, at a charge to the insurance company of up to £350 a day.

Police began to unravel the group's activities after a tip off from an insurance company who had noticed a pattern of irregularities in submitted claims. On 15 October, 2008 officers raided the business premises of Motor Alliance and found 64 files relating to insurance claims in the boot of a silver Mercedes, which formed the basis of their inquiries.

During the investigation it became clear that the same individuals were involved in separate claims and some vehicles were used in multiple claims. When dealing with insurance companies Haque would use the alias Samuel Hague and on occasions the same hire car was shown as hired out to two or three different clients at the same time.

The fraudsters often roped in other people to provide their driving licence details, to substantiate the claims and in return they were offered modest sums of money and duped into believing there was little or no risk involved.

Police also unearthed reports of a 'crashing party' inside a garage at the Motor Alliance premises where Yusuf, Miah, Haque and Rashid had some food and drink before Haque and Yusuf directed those present to drive low value cars into high value cars, consistent with the false claims. Typically they would obtain low value cars from people they knew who wanted to get rid of them. High value cars came from either their own stock or were on occasions specifically bought for the purpose.

After each crash Haque and Yusuf would inspect the cars and if the damage was deemed insufficient, cause more damage using baseball bats.

Haque and Yusuf were arrested on 15 October 2008 following the police raid. Akthtar was arrested on 3 September 2008 and Rahman on 4 June 2008. Rashid and Miah were arrested in January 2010.

Haque, Yusuf, Miah, Rahman and Akthtar pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud and Rashid was found guilty after pleading not guilty. The gang is due to be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on a date in October.

Throughout the case police worked closely with the Insurance Fraud Bureau.

 

Richard Anthony Oakes, Sharon Linda Oakes & Ashley Burton trading as Oakes Insurance Consultants are
authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Number 307170

Registered office: Oakes House, Derby Road, Long Eaton, Nottingham NG10 1PD