Luton-based pastor ordered to pay £16,000 after attempting to con court officials with personal injury insurance scam.
A 48-year-old pastor has been jailed for three months for issuing a bogus £31,000 personal injury claim; the cleric maintained that his injuries were a result of a road traffic accident, but insurance firm investigators proved that the pastor’s own heavy luggage was to blame for musculoskeletal pain.
Stephen Olayinka, senior pastor at the Watersprings Christian Centre in Luton, Bedfordshire, tried to claim £31,000 as part of a personal injury claim, following a car crash in April 2015.
He told his insurance firm, Admiral, that muscular injuries from the collision prevented him from undertaking his second job as an IT worker, which meant he lost out on a £31,000 contract.
However, digging by Admiral’s investigators revealed that Olayinka’s musculoskeletal issues were actually the result of lifting heavy bags during a preaching tour of America, which included pit stops at San Francisco and Minnesota prior to April 2015.
The High Court didn’t look lightly on Olayinka’s fraudulent insurance claim, finding him guilty of contempt of court for making false statements regarding a personal injury claim.
As punishment, Judge Heather Williams issued Olayinka with three months in prison as well as a £16,000 fine.
Olayinka begged the court to use its discretion and consider his good standing as a pastor, however his pleas fell on deaf ears.
Emily Robins at Horwich Farrelly, the insurance law firm that invtesigated Olayinka’s claim, said: “Mr Olayinka’s costly mistake should serve as an example to anyone else believing that insurance fraud is a victimless crime and that even if they are caught there will be little consequence.
“Even though Admiral chose to proceed with committal in the knowledge that they may well be unable to recover costs against Mr Olayinka, their robust action demonstrates that they were keen to send a message that those making fraudulent claims against insurers should expect the most serious consequences.”
Admiral’s head of claims, Lorna Connelly, added: “We’re understandably satisfied with this significant ruling and the message it sends to anyone considering making a fraudulent claim. The investigation proved Mr Olayinka was fundamentally dishonest, he plainly lied about his loss of earnings and the injury he sustained in the accident.
“We hope his custodial sentence sends a warning that Admiral will fight against dishonesty and anyone failing to tell the truth could end up in the same position as Mr Olayinka. We also hope the decision will make claimants think twice before bringing these cases to court in the first place.”
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