Fraudster sentenced after exaggerated a loss of earnings claim
A fraudster has been sentenced to four months in prison after he exaggerated a loss of earnings claim following an accident outside his home.
James Lee Mitchell originally claimed for personal injury and a loss of earnings of almost £16,000 after he tripped over an uneven paving slab outside the home he rented from Clarion.
He then claimed that, due to his injuries, he couldn’t accept a job offer. But, after investigations, it was discovered that he had not worked for over eight years.
And the apparent job offer came from a company with which he had strong connections via his brother.
Mitchell, 55, of Cambridgeshire was sentenced yesterday (24 July) after law firm, Weightmans brought forward the case on behalf of Circle Anglia Limited (now known as Clarion Housing Group) and its insurer, Zurich.
Weightmans secured a fundamental dishonesty charge against Mitchell which led to him having to pay costs.
But Weightmans was not done. It then appealed to the High Court to bring a contempt of court charge to Mitchell.
At the hearing in June 2018, Mitchell was found guilty of 21 counts for contempt of court.
During his sentencing on 24 July, Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb said Mitchell’s actions were extremely serious which caused great difficulty and threatened the course of justice.
Suzanne Milne, Partner and Head of Casualty Fraud at Weightmans said: “This was a matter that Clarion and its insurers pursued because of the wider public interest in deterring fraudulent claims and the desire to deal with these claims in a robust manner.
“Mr Mitchell intentionally lied about the losses he allegedly incurred with the intention of securing a higher award of compensation than he was genuinely entitled to, and then lied further in an attempt to maintain the deception.
”We hope this outcome sends a message to those considering making similar claims in the future.”
Commenting on the judgement, head of claims investigations at Zurich, Scott Clayton, said: “It is such a shame that some people seek personal gain and profit by being dishonest.
”Perhaps Mr Mitchell believed that making an exaggerated claim against the housing association had no downside – but unfortunately for him, he was wrong.
”It doesn’t matter whether fraudulent activity is against an individual, a company, or the public sector – we will always fight fraud where we see it and continue our efforts to discourage people from thinking they can make a quick buck by making something up.”