Motor insurers are hoping fraudsters will get the message after the first Doncaster man to be jailed for a ‘crash for cash’ scam started the New Year behind bars.
A judge who imprisoned car dealer Michael Rajinder Singh for eight months said those tempted to ‘make claims from fictitious accidents should take heed’.
Car insurance firms are increasingly fighting back against fraudulent claims and using private prosecutions to allege contempt of court where they believe claimants have made false statements.
High Court judges said last year the courts have a duty to eradicate the rampant fraud which is driving up premiums for honest drivers.
Experts from Liverpool Victoria insurance company rejected Singh’s £100,000-plus claim for compensation because they decided the car accident had never happened.
Singh, aged 47, of Harrowden Road, Wheatley, originally told his insurers he was involved in a car accident on January 16, 2010, with a man named Rudzam Didzus on Winchester Road, Dunscroft.
He said he was driving a Rover when Mr Didzus, who was driving a BMW, emerged from a side road and collided with his car.
Mr Didzus was insured by insurers LV and, had the claim been genuine, LV would have paid out in excess of £120,000. The costs sought included medical treatment for the two drivers and five fictitious passengers for personal injuries, including whiplash, as well as car repairs, car hire and storage, and the claimants’ legal fees. But the claim was investigated by LV’s claims crime prevention team as there were a number of factors that made it suspicious.
There was no police involvement, the vehicle damage was inconsistent with the description of the accident, and the claim was made just a few days after Mr Didzus took out his car insurance policy.
After the investigation, LV turned down the claim on the grounds the accident had never taken place.
Singh began proceedings against LV for not paying his claim, which were dismissed in court last September.
But LV then began proceedings against Singh for contempt of court - and he was jailed by a judge at Sheffield County Court.
Married with three children, he is the proprietor of HBS Motors in Wheatley Hall Road Doncaster, and previously worked at the BMW distribution centre in Thorne.
Sentencing him Judge Graham Robinson said: “Those tempted to make fraudulent claims from fictitious accidents should take heed. False claims take up valuable court time that could be better spent resolving genuine disputes.
“Fraud costs the insurance industry an eye-watering £2 billion a year and honest motorists would also agree that money could be better spent.” It is the third custodial sentence LV has obtained within the past 10 months.