Manchester man conned about 70 young drivers and pocketed more than £35,000
A ghost broker targeting Manchester students who went on the run after being arrested has today been jailed for three years.
Alexander James Edward Dooley set up a website ‘carinsurance4me.com’ advertising cheap car insurance aimed at ‘high risk’ motorists. He then used it to con about 70 young drivers into buying worthless policies – and pocketed more than £35,000.
Dooley had an unsuspecting student promote the website among his friends and for every one that purchased a policy he would give the then 18-year-old £100 cash.
Dooley sent his victims fake insurance certificates with a Groupama (now Ageas Insurance) logo, meaning some drivers only realised they had been conned when they had their car seized by police for having no insurance.
His fraud first came to light in July 2011 by Ageas who forwarded the customer complaints to the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) when it was formed in January 2012.
Two days later detectives arrested 31-year-old Dooley at his home on Edward Street, in Ashton-under-Lyne, and seized two laptops and two hard drives.
On examining the hard drives, detectives found emails to victims with phoney insurance certificates attached.
Inquiries with Dooley’s bank revealed that payments made by victims were almost immediately withdrawn in cash or foreign currency.
Dooley was charged with possession of identity documents with improper intention and fraud but avoided justice after fleeing the country for 10 months. He was apprehended again in February 2014 when he returned to England and attended a job interview in Warrington.
He was subsequently remanded into custody and pleaded guilty to the offences.
DC Kate Sibley, who led the IFED investigation, said: “Dooley exploited the anonymity of the internet, the credibility of a legitimate insurer and the desire of cash-strapped students to be on the road to create a car insurance scam that made him tens of thousands of pounds.
“By having his ‘man on campus’ unknowingly doing his dirty work Dooley must have thought that he was untouchable.
Ageas fraud manager Andrew Pagett said: “This case is an example of how insurers and IFED can work together to combat insurance fraud. Ageas is highly active in using anti-fraud measures and a case like this helps to demonstrate how innocent policyholders can be affected by this crime. We are delighted with the outcome.”