A bogus bus crash was staged in Sheffield so 26 passengers could make fake whiplash claims all set up by organised conmen trying to defraud insurance firms, a court heard.
Bus driver Adam Herbert was in on the ‘cash for crash’ plot, and deliberately drove his First double decker into the back of a car in Pitsmoor.
The crash was just a ‘minor bump’ on a service which normally carried six to eight passengers, Katherine Robinson, prosecuting, told Sheffield Crown Court.
But, on the day of the collision, there were 30 to 40 passengers aboard – 26 of whom later made almost identical personal injury claims through the same Pitsmoor-based insurance company.
“It’s the type of case you may hear described as ‘cash for crash’,” Miss Robinson said.
“The plan was to load the bus with as many dishonest passengers as possible, and submit a raft of bogus claims for personal injury.
“It was a plan to maximise dishonest income from a rather spectacular stunt.”
Miss Robinson said the fake passengers had been recruited by ringleader Mohammed Omar Gulzar, owner of insurance firm City Claims 4U on Pitsmoor Road.
It is claimed the bus crash was just one of several stunted-up or exaggerated collisions staged by Gulzar, aged 31, and his employees Shoaib Nawaz and Liam Howden, both 25.
They and four others have gone on trial accused of a nine-month plot to defraud car insurance companies out of tens of thousands of pounds.
Miss Robinson said: “This concerns a professionally-planned and organised conspiracy to defraud insurance companies, by deliberately making false claims in respect of road traffic collisions that never occurred or were staged.”
She said false claims were submitted for repairs to vehicles ‘damaged’ in collisions, to recoup the costs of courtesy cars, and to pay compensation to clients who had suffered supposed injury.
“City Claims 4U was operating in Sheffield and operated by Gulzar, Nawaz and Howden. We say that company was a vehicle for fraud,” Miss Robinson said.
The bus crash happened at the junction of Scott Road and Ellesmere Road on June 16, 2011.
“By that date those at City Claims 4U were becoming confident and very, very greedy,” Miss Robinson said.
“These individuals were involved in a plan to crash a bus being driven by Adam Herbert.
“Herbert deliberately drove into the back of a Vauxhall Zafira at slow speed.
“Injuries were reported by a number of people on the bus. Police and ambulance attended.”
Miss Robinson said a few people on board the bus were legitimate passengers who knew nothing of the plot.
“They will describe a very minor bump,” she said. “But 26 people made claims for whiplash injuries arising out of this collision.
“The bus company put aside a quarter of a million pounds to pay out in damages.
“But, when the bus company made enquiries, it discovered only six to eight passengers normally used the service. There were 30 to 40 passengers on the bus that day.
“These people had been told by Gulzar and his staff when to get on and when to get off.”
Gulzar, of Osgathorpe Road, Fir Vale; Nawaz, of Earl Marshal Road, Fir Vale; and Howden, of Brinsworth Hall Road, Rotherham; along with Nisar Hussain, 28, of Morgan Road, Shirecliffe; Kiran Shaheen, 22, of Bradford; Javed Khan, 46, of Birmingham; and Sami Selm, 39, of Flint, North Wales; all deny conspiracy to defraud insurance companies by deception.
Bus driver Herbert, 25, of Ecclesfield Road, Chapeltown, Sheffield, has pleaded guilty - as has Dusan Pacan, 27, of Cammell Road, Fir Vale; Safaida Bi, 30, of Bradford; and Mohammed Jaffar, 25, and Saif Glenn, 26, both of Coventry.
They will be sentenced at the end of the trial.
The case continues.