Ipswich man caught trying to claim against Groupama

A man who tried to defraud Groupama by making a false claim for a vintage Bentley has been fined £10,000 after an investigation by the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED).

Peter Michael Webb, 56, from Richmond Road, Ipswich, insured a Bentley Mark V1 for £42,000 after saying he had spent £38,000 in cash restoring it from scrap.

He then reported it had been stolen. When Webb’s insurers, Groupama, asked for supply invoices and images for the restoration work they were told these were in the car boot at the time it was stolen.

Groupama became suspicious after Webb supplied a photograph of the interior of a Bentley that had been downloaded from the internet, along with other images of the exterior of a Bentley actually taken after Webb had test driven another Bentley from an Essex dealership.

Groupama referred the case to the IFED, which investigated it as a case of fraud.

Webb was arrested at work and charged with fraud by false representation. After initially pleading not guilty, Webb later admitted the charge.

On 8 March Webb was fined £10,000 at Ipswich Crown Court. He faces six months in prison if he defaults on the fine repayments. Webb was also ordered to pay £1,323 compensation to Groupama, £1,000 court costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

IFED detective constable Declan Malone said: “Webb thought he had a clever plan to claim a substantial five figure sum from his insurer with his story that his restored Bentley had been stolen. However, the insurers saw through his fraud and referred the case to us and we were quickly able to establish he had committed a crime. IFED will continue to bring insurance fraudsters to justice.”

Groupama Insurances counter-fraud manager Andrew Pagett said: “This is an excellent result for both us and IFED. Groupama Insurances’ dedicated fraud team became suspicious of this claim at an early stage because of inconsistencies in the customer’s story, compounded by the lack of supporting documentation confirming the existence of his vehicle.”