City Claims 4 U behind staged Sheffield bus crash

The leaders of a claims management company that crammed a bus full of fake passengers and staged a cash-for-crash scam have been sentenced to a total of eight years in prison.

Mohammed Omar Gulzar, the boss of Sheffield claims company City Claims 4 U, was given a four-and-a-half year prison term and disqualified for being a director for four years at Sheffield Crown Court on Friday.

His employee Shoaib Nawaz was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

Investigations by South Yorkshire police began when a bus collided with the back of a Vauxhall Zafira in Burngreave, Sheffield on 17 June 2011.

More than 25 fraudulent passengers made claims for whiplash, although genuine passengers suffered little or no injury.

Accounts of the collision given by the bus driver, Adam Herbert – who was in on the scam – and the driver of the Zafira, Safaida Bi, varied greatly, while genuine passengers were bemused by the actions of others on the bus.

One woman told police how following the collision, which “barely made her sway”, one man ran past her and headbutted the windscreen. Another genuine passenger said that she was provided with collision report sheets prior to the crash even taking place.

Bus operator First also found there had been a spike in passenger numbers that day.

Meanwhile, a team loss adjustor at Cunningham Lindsey identified several separate suspicious cases involving hire cars that all linked to City Claims 4 U, the same firm of engineers and solicitors.

A raid by South Yorkshire Police found files relating to a further 39 accidents that Claims 4 U had used to submit fraudulent claims to insurance companies.

Cunningham Lindsey’s evidence was also used to show City Claims 4 U was set up for the purpose of claiming for false and staged accidents.

Its head of fraud, Chris Aplin, said the custodial sentences were a “great result”.

“CMCs are usually the orchestrators and professional enablers that sit behind the many individual events that get reported. They’re the power brokers pulling all the strings. To get some serious custodial sentences is very positive,” he told Insurance Times.

“Uncovering it is not easy, but when you do it’s great to see the courts support us.”