Portuguese community targeted by courier ghost broker

A courier has been sentenced for setting up more than 100 fraudulent car insurance policies for unsuspecting ‘customers’ that cost Liberty Insurance £79,000.

Renan Gomes from Surrey has also been ordered to repay £17,000 within three months or spend nine months in jail after a confiscation hearing at Guildford Crown Court.

He pocketed around £70-£100 in fees from his unsuspecting customers for every policy he opened, making around £10,000 in total.

Detectives also found 133 payments from his accounts to insurers and losses to Liberty Insurance were estimated to total £79,000.

Between November 2013 and March 2015, Gomes set himself up as an unauthorised insurance broker, and took out polices on behalf of his customers who thought they were getting good deals on their car insurance.

But Gomes was registering false details to get lower premiums and was leaving his customers completely uncovered.

Through local adverts and word of mouth, Gomes set up 133 fraudulent policies on behalf of his customers, many of whom were from the Portuguese community living in and around the Epsom and Surrey area.

The fraud came to light after Liberty Insurance spotted the high number of policies being set up using the same banks accounts, all of which belonged to Gomes.

After the details were passed to Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) in February 2015 detectives linked 79 policies that Gomes had set up with Liberty.

He was arrested at his home address in March 2015.

After more enquiries, officers discovered that Gomes had also given fake home addresses or forged no claims certificates to get his clients cheaper premiums than they were entitled to.

Gomes was sentenced at Guildford Crown Court on Friday 20 May to 16 months imprisonment, suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

He had previously pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and carrying out a regulated activity when not an authorised person.