Organised insurance fraud is ‘a growing problem’, says City of London police economic crime unit

City of London Police has charged four people, including personal injury lawyer Brian Barso, for alleged involvement in a £4m insurance fraud.

Barso, 39, and Dr Lawrence Adler, 57, were charged with money laundering and fraud by false representation. Company directors Frank Harrold, 34, and Natalie Barso, 38, were both charged with money laundering.

Insurance Times revealed in March last year that police were investigating an alleged fraud by Barso, a lawyer at personal injury law firm McKeowns, who was arrested and released without charge. He was suspended from the firm.

It is understood that the alleged fraud focused on payments received by Barso over a period of time.

Insurance Times also reported that Harrold, a director of BCR Legal Assist, an after-the-event broker, was arrested on suspicion of fraud-related offences and released on police bail on 5 March 2009.

There is no suggestion that McKeowns or BCR Legal Assist are implicated in any of the allegations.

Following the charges, Harrold issued a statement though his solicitors in which he “strenuously denies any allegations of wrongdoing against him”.

The four were bailed to appear at City of London Magistrates on 8 October.

The charges are part of an ongoing joint operation between the Insurance Fraud Bureau and City of London Police.

Detective superintendent Bob Wishart, from the City of London police’s economic crime directorate, said: “Organised defrauding of the insurance industry is a growing problem that we are taking very seriously and we are working closely with the IFB, Solicitors Regulation Authority and General Medical Council to eradicate this crime.”