Investigations by Cunningham Lindsey and Aviva revealed accident had been staged

Investigations into a seemingly straight-forward car accident led to two fraudsters being sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work for their part in a staged collision.

On 2 December 2012, a Cardiff City Council (CCC) refuse truck, driven by co-defendant Rob Morgan, hit a parked BMW M3 convertible. The subsequent insurance claim was for repair costs of almost £12,000.

Aviva had concerns that the claim may not be genuine. CCC had received an anonymous tip-off that there was going to be a staged accident involving a CCC vehicle and a car belonging to Andrew Stratton, co-defendant and owner of a garage body shop.

The tip-off proved correct and, after some further enquires, Aviva instructed fraud investigators Cunningham Lindsey Investigation Services to secure the evidence needed to bring the case to the police for prosecution.

Cunningham Lindsey established a link between Stratton and Morgan and brought further tip-offs from local authority and anti-fraud hotlines to light. They also obtained a forensic engineer’s report from CCC’s insurer, identifying that some of the damage to the vehicle appeared to be pre-existing, suggesting a potential motive for staging the crash.

At the request of Aviva’s Special investigation Unit, Cunningham Lindsey liaised with the police and provided a detailed statement of their findings. Stratton and Morgan were charged with Section 1 Fraud Act offences, and they appeared in Cardiff Crown Court on 22 April 2014. Both pleaded guilty.

Aviva’s Head of Fraud Tom Gardiner said: “Aviva has significant tools and resources to prevent and detect fraud, and protect our customers from the impact of fraud on premiums. This should send out a message to anyone planning a fraud to think again: if you commit fraud it is increasingly likely you will be caught and prosecuted.”

Cunningham Lindsey UK Head of Fraud Christian Aplin said: “This investigation demonstrates the benefits of collaboration. Effectively tackling organised fraud helps to lower insurance premiums, while reducing the burden on local authority tax payers.

“Cunningham Lindsey’s tenacity and investigative expertise were key to breaking this case. Hopefully this result will serve to remind the wider public that insurance fraud costs us all money.”