The mastermind behind a series of insurance scams which culminated in the deliberate crashing of a 12-tonne Sheffield bus with up to 40 passengers on board has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.
Mohammed Omar Gulzar, aged 31, of Osgathorpe Drive, Fir Vale, Sheffield, set up the ‘crash-for-cash’ collision involving a single-decker bus after recruiting driver Adam Herbert.
Herbert, aged 26, of Ecclesfield Road, Chapeltown, was jailed for 20 months at Sheffield Crown Court.
The court heard the bus crash was “the most extreme example” of a series of fake collisions orchestrated by Gulzar and his co-conspirator, Shoaib Nawaz, aged 25, of Earl Marshall Road, Pitsmoor, who was jailed for three and a half years.
Three other men were jailed for their roles in Gulzar’s scams and five others received suspended sentences.
Judge Graham Robinson heard Gulzar set up 39 collisions in Sheffield, Rotherham and Halifax in order to make false personal injury claims which could have cost insurance companies £500,000.
In June 2011 Gulzar and Nawaz filled a single decker First Mainline bus with passengers and Herbert deliberately crashed it at low speed into a Vauxhall Safira.
The smash, at the junction of Scott Road and Ellesmere Road, sparked a police investigation.
The collision was slight - causing £800 of damage to the vehicle - but innocent people among the 30 to 40 travellers on board were amazed to see some passengers overreact to the small bump.
Detectives found some passengers picked up claim forms from Gulzar’s company, City Claims 4 U, before the crash.
Some 26 personal injury claims were made.
Judge Robinson said: “In order to drum up business, Gulzar and Nawaz staged real incidents or made up ficticious incidents - either deliberately damaging cars or perhaps simply inventing accidents.”
Gulzar, Nawaz, Sami Selam, 37, of Wales, and Javed Khan, 47, of Birmingham, were all found guilty of conspiracy to defraud. Selam was jailed for three months and Khan for four.
Safaida Bi-Nawaz, 30, of Bradford, Saeeda Ali Bi, 40, of Coleridge Gardens, Darnall, Mohammed Jaffar, 26, and Saif Allah Kara Glenn, 25, both of Coventry and Osman Bakri, 26, of Rockingham Street, pleaded guilty and received suspended prison sentences and unpaid work.