The fraudster claimed to have been on his bike when he hit a pothole, and wrongly tried to blame Cardiff Council

A cyclist has today been sentenced after submitting a false injury claim where he injured himself after crashing into a pothole.

Luboya Tshibangu, 38, from Cardiff has been sentenced to three years and six months for fraud by false representation after he tried to make the false claim against his Cardiff Council.

The City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) took on the case in March 2017 after Cardiff Council’s insurance company referred it to an offence that occurred between 16 December 2012 and 14 March 2017.

Tshibangu claimed he was on his bicycle when the front wheel hit a pothole in the pavement causing him to fall from the bicycle and suffer a broken right ankle.

In October 2013, he provided pictures of the state of the road, but under Section 58 of the Highways Act (1980), the council rejected the claim as it was allowed to defend cases, as long as there had been a reasonable schedule of maintenance and upkeep in place.

In April the next year, Tshibangu’s solicitors submitted a claim form which showed his alleged earnings, a copy of his medical report plus images of the defect that Tshibangu alleged had caused him to fall from his bike.

The value of the loss being claimed for was £175,000 due to loss of earnings and his injuries. 

Cardiff Council’s solicitors managed to obtain the 999 call made by a passer-by about Tshibangu’s injury. It was determined that the location of this injury was approximately 950 metres away from the location given by Tshibangu.

The caller also stated that the floor was slippery where Tshibangu was riding his bike but did not mention a paving defect.

IFED determined that while Tshibangu had genuinely fallen from his bike, it had not happened where he claimed and it had been as a result of the slippery pavement and not a pothole. As a result, no money was paid out to Tshibangu.

In February 2017, Cardiff Council’s solicitors amended their defence to plead fraud and the case was subsequently passed to IFED.

Tshibangu was voluntarily interviewed by IFED officers at Cardiff Bay Police Station on 6 July 2017.

Detective constable Justin Hawes of IFED said: “Tshibangu used a genuine injury in an attempt to lay blame with the council. This blatant attempt at deception was spotted and the work of IFED with the council and its legal team has enabled us to put a stop to Tshibangu’s crime.

“Legitimate injuries should never be seen as an excuse to misplace blame or inflate circumstances in a bid to make money. False insurance claims increase the costs for all insurance holders by driving up premiums. The result here shows that IFED takes these crimes very seriously and will put a stop to them.”

Councillor Chris Weaver, cabinet member for finance, modernisation and performance at Cardiff Council said: “This is a case where someone has sadly had an accident and hurt themselves and tried to lay blame on the council illegally.

”Fraud is a serious offence and I hope this case sends a clear message that these matters are investigated and if false claims are made, we will work with the relevant authorities to bring these matters to court.”