Second phase of investigation results in 77 guilty fraudsters
One of the UK’s largest investigations into car insurance fraud has resulted in 77 convictions.
Those convicted on Friday were involved in a conspiracy dating back to 2015, which initially saw 81 people prosecuted for their part in crash for cash scams.
Gwent Police had been investigating the conspiracy, which centred around a garage in Cardiff called ‘EASIFIX’, for four-and-a half years and approached the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) in 2011 to help identify the extent of the fraudulent activity.
The IFB were able to link the damaged vehicles as well as vehicle parts found at the garage with a number of deceptive insurance claims.
Using their advanced analytical systems, IFB were able to initially identify 60 incidents involving around 150 claimants, resulting in the eventual arrest and charging of 87 people by Gwent Police.
81 people were then prosecuted for a range of offences, including conspiracy to defraud and fraud by misrepresentation.
Following the original investigation, a further 22 staged incidents and an additional 80 individuals were identified as being linked to the scam.
After the success of the first phase of the investigation, Gwent Police went on to pursue all of the other individuals involved in order to bring them to justice in phase two of the operation.
As a result, on 22 May 2017, the individuals were summonsed to Cwmbran Magistrates’ Court, with 80 being charged with fraud offences relating to the additional 22 incidents.
At the time, 15 of the individuals entered guilty pleas at the court, with a further 62 since pleading guilty or being found guilty.
Three were found not guilty. Friday marked the conclusion of these trials, with the last of the defendants being handed their verdicts.
Jason Potter, IFB’s Head of Investigations, said: “This is a continuation of one of the largest and longest investigations that IFB has been involved in and we’re extremely pleased that the guilty parties in this major scam were pursued for their crimes following a successful collaboration with Gwent Police and our insurer members.
“Crash for cash in any form is an intolerable crime and the fraudulent claims that go along with it ultimately cost honest premium paying motorists money. What have may have seemed to the fraudsters like a quick way to make money has ultimately resulted in a total of 158 guilty verdicts across both phases of the investigation. Let this be a message to anyone considering taking part in this type of illicit activity – you will be caught and you will be prosecuted.”
Senior investigating officer at Gwent Police, Steve Maloney said: “Operation Dino was investigated by a small team of dedicated investigators who had to manage a large number of individuals responsible for a very complex fraud.
“The investigation has brought people to justice for their criminal activity but has also assisted our partners in the insurance industry to prevent future offences of this nature going undetected. Crash for cash scams have a real impact on society and cost the honest policy holders almost £350m each year.”