Balraj Singh Thumbe told fraudsters ‘have to expect significant terms of imprisonment’

A fraudster who launched a bogus motor insurance claim for more than £130,000 for a crash that never happened must accept his prison sentence, a top judge has ruled.

Wolverhampton wineseller, Balraj Singh Thumber, 41, launched the six-figure claim over a sham fender-bender which he claimed involved his Audi in Walsall in 2011.

Mr Thumber, of Dudley Road, Wolverhampton, was last year forced to abandon his bid for compensation from insurers LV= before it came before Walsall County Court.

And the father-of-four was caged for a year at London’s High Court in July, after a judge found that his claim was “wholly fraudulent” and a civil contempt of court.

Today, another judge at the same court rejected a bid by Mr Thumber to “purge” his contempt and win his freedom.

Mr Justice Holroyde ruled that the jail term was entirely justified and that saying sorry wasn’t good enough.

Mr Thumber issued a damages claim in April, 2011, claiming that his car was involved in a smash with a BMW on January 21, that year.

He demanded compensation for injuries, as well for replacement car hire in the “extraordinary sum” of £130,000, the judge said.

But his claim was discontinued when it reached the county court in May last year and he was ordered to pay the insurers’ legal costs.

“The reason why proceedings came to an abrupt end in that way was that the claim was wholly fraudulent,” Mr Justice Holroyde said.

He added that the alleged crash never actually happened.

Furious LV= applied to the High Court to have Mr Thumber committed to prison for his contempt of court and he was caged four months ago.

Mr Justice Bean said at the time: “This is the plainest possible case of a fraudulent claim, with false witness statements and what would have been, had the trial proceeded, an attempt to obtain a good deal of money by perjured evidence.”

Seeking his freedom today, Mr Thumber addressed Mr Justice Holroyde by video link from prison.

He said: “I apologise to the courts, I apologise to LV= for the mistake I have made.

“I have four children who I need to get out to and take care of. I’ve also got a job, as well, which I can go back to and get back on with my life.”

The shaven-headed and bearded prisoner, wearing a dark top, added: “It was my first offence. I’m not going to make any more; I just need to get out.”

Thumber also pointed out that he cannot qualify for early release on home detention because he is a civil, and not a criminal, prisoner.

But the judge said: “This type of fraudulent conduct, involving the abuse of the processes of the civil court, is a very serious matter.

“Those who engage in it have to expect significant terms of imprisonment.

“Mr Justice Bean made a careful consideration of all of the relevant circumstances and considered a sentence of 12 months’ imprisonment to be necessary and proportionate.

“I have considered all that Mr Thumber has put before this court, but I’m not persuaded that there is any reason to discharge him from that appropriate sentence.

“For these reasons, this application must be refused.”