’We hope this result acts as a warning to anyone considering exploiting their insurance policy for financial gain,’ says detective constable

A man who took out more than 80 home insurance policies before making dozens of bogus claims for broken televisions against them has been sentenced following a cross-industry investigation.

Alfred Gallinelli, 36, of Blundell Road, Barnet, took out the policies from November 2017 to July 2018 using fictitious names and made claims for accidental damage to a flat-screen television.

He received payouts worth £31,590 after 26 of the claims were settled.

Gallinelli pleaded guilty at Inner London Crown Court on 24 October 2023 to two counts of fraud by false representation.

Detective constable Chris Kench, from the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (Ifed), said: “Although each claim made by Gallinelli was relatively low in value, the large volume of claims he made meant that he pocketed a whopping £31,000.

“Losses through fraudulent activity like this increase premiums for law-abiding policyholders.”

The case

The court heard that Gallinelli took out a home insurance policy in November 2017 and contacted the insurer in January 2018 to report that he had dropped a television – he received a voucher to buy a replacement.

A second claim was made against the same policy in March 2018. Gallinelli alleged that his wall-mounted television set had fallen and broken several shelves, an iPhone and an iPad.

The insurer provided a replacement phone and another voucher.

A company that the insurer used to validate claims and arrange replacement items to be sent to policyholders identified that Gallinelli had already made a claim for damage to a television, prompting an investigation.

It found that Gallinelli had taken out a total of 82 policies under various names and made 40 claims against them.

The same bank account and IP address were linked to multiple policies and the televisions in many of the photos submitted as evidence of the damage had the same serial number.

After the fraudulent claims were identified, a total of 19 were denied before they could be paid out.

Cross-industry checks led staff at another insurer to suspect that it had also been exposed to similar claims.

They launched a separate investigation, which found that Gallinelli had taken out five home insurance policies using various names and £6,829 had been paid out against them.

It also found that Gallinelli had made five further claims worth a total of £16,000, which were subsequently denied before they were paid out.

The case was referred to Ifed in August 2018 – during a voluntary attendance interview with officers, Gallinelli answered “no comment” to all questions asked.

“Thankfully, the crossovers between the phone numbers, email addresses and IP addresses that Gallinelli used to take out the policies meant that we had solid evidence to link them to him,” Kench said.

At a hearing on 25 January 2024, Gallinelli was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months.

He was also ordered to complete 80 hours of unpaid work, a 30 day rehabilitation activity requirement and pay a victim surcharge.

Kench said: “We hope this result acts as a warning to anyone considering exploiting their insurance policy for financial gain – this type of fraud is taken very seriously by Ifed and the insurance industry and will leave perpetrators with a criminal record.”