Police accused of failing to heed industry data on vice rings

Fraudster are running huge vice rings organised into "cells" in an attempt to defraud the insurance industry of millions of pounds.

RG Investigations (RGI) director Ray Glenn said RGI had conducted two operations that confirmed a cell-type pattern.

Operation Crusader ended in March 2001 while Operation Lionheart was "still being mopped up" Glenn said.

But he blasted the police. "They do not have the will or patience to sit down and take on board what we are telling them."

He said both operations showed the fraud rings ran in similar ways. "In Crusader there were 78 people and in Lionheart, 170 people. These are the same people who are attacking the financial services industry and running credit card operations. They are also involved in smuggling illegal immigrants, drugs, prostitution and protection rackets." He said one of his investigators witnessed a murder stemming from activities of the same vice rings.

"Crusader targeted a particular ring of people who were exposing a large cross-section of insurers.

"Lionheart focused on an accident management company in Birmingham. These people work in tight cells and the cases are very complex," Glenn said.

He said the criminals usually used birth, family and religious names, along with fictitious ones. He said RGI had special software to crack this identity fraud.

Glenn warned insurers to be more vigilant. "We believe that anyone who finds it easy to defraud will attack the sector time and time again," he said. "Insurers need to put their more experienced people at the sharp end. Claims departments usually comprise young people with limited experience."

But Glenn applauded projects like the ABI's motor insurance anti-fraud and theft register (MIAFTR). "There is a growing trend for insurers to meet and be transparent in their dealings with each other."