Umesh Gordhan lied to insurers 28 times, IFED investigation found

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A council benefits officer has been jailed for two years today at Leicester Crown Court for trying to defraud travel insurers of £88,000.

An investigation by the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department found that 48-year-old Umesh Gordhan of Meadowsweet Road in Leicester had lied to insurers 28 times, claiming that poor health had led to him cancelling his holiday.

Between 2007 and 2011, Gordhan took out travel insurance policies that covered holiday cancellations with multiple insurance providers, then submitted claims saying illness had prompted him to cancel a holiday he had booked in a vial in Alicante, Spain.

Gordhan provided a variety of documents in support of all his claims, including medical certificates signed by a GP and flight and accommodation booking and cancellation confirmation.

But claims handling firm Intana discovered Gordhan had made almost identical insurance claims to a variety of insurers using the same personal information each time.

Intana referred the claims to IFED for investigation in April 2014 and Gordhan was arrested at his home under the unit’s nationwide ‘day of action’ against travel insurance fraud.

On searching Gordhan’s computer, detectives found that all the documents he had used to support his claims were counterfeit.

In interview Gordhan claimed he was a victim of identity theft and that someone had used his personal information to commit the offences.

But he later pleaded guilty to ten counts of fraud by false representation.

Gordhan made claims to insurers AIG, Professional Travel Insurance, AXA, UK General Insurance, White Horse, Europ Assistance, Great Lakes, Chartis, Mondial Assist via several claims handlers.

The total value of the claims submitted by Gordhan was £118,548.01. The amount paid by insurers to Gordhan was £88,503.64.

On being challenged as to the validity of two claims he submitted to Great Lakes and Chartis, Gordhan repaid £9,298.98. The total outstanding loss to victim insurers is £79,204.66.

IFED has applied to the court under the Proceeds of Crime Act to recover the remainder of the money.

Police staff investigator Tony Freeman, who led the IFED investigation, said: “For years Gordhan lived a lifestyle more lavish than he could fund through his legitimate employment and so systematically conned travel insurance providers to get tens of thousands of pounds he was not entitled to.

“He did not think that anyone would check his claims but the work of insurers and the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department means his fraud has now been uncovered and he has been brought to book.”

Intana fraud manager Mathew Crawford-Thomas added: “Gordhan had evaded justice for a litany of false claims that he had submitted over a number of years.

“Our involvement saw irregularities across several of his claims brought to the fore, and our subsequent investigations were key in empowering the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department to bring the case to court.

“We are committed to the rigorous pursuit of travel insurance fraud, including historic offences, on behalf of our clients and their customers.”