The three former Westminster University students targeted minicab drivers
Three former Westminster University students were yesterday sentenced for a ghost broking scam targeting minicab drivers.
Ajay Haque, 35 of Salisbury Road, Anik Dixit, 34 of Browning Road, and Mohammed Nur Ahmed, 33 of Walton Road, were convicted at Snaresbrook Crown Court on 27 March with ‘conspiracy to commit fraud.’
The trio fashioned an ‘elaborate ghost broking scheme’ that stole profits from unsuspecting victims by selling them false insurance policies.
Haque, the scam’s ‘mastermind’ received a two-year custodial sentence, suspended for 21 months, and a nine-hour curfew in effect for six months.
Dixit received a 20-month custodial sentence suspended for 18 months and 260 hours of unpaid work.
Nur Ahmed received a 17-month custodial sentence suspended for 18 months and 220 hours of unpaid work.
Police constable, Hilary Sizmur, MPS Roads and Transport Policing Command, called it ‘an audacious criminal act carried out by unscrupulous people.’
WhiIe the Insurance Fraud Bureau’s (IFB) head of investigations, Jason Potter, said it was a ‘complex case’ demonstrating the lengths ‘ghost brokers’ will go to ‘manipulate the system.’
The news follows an investigation involving the IFB, its insurer members and the Metropolitan Police Services.
Sizmur, said: “We are committed to detecting, disrupting and arresting those involved in crime as demonstrated by our thorough and robust investigation involving several partner agencies, which left no stone unturned in catching these offenders.”
She added that the fraudsters ‘sole aim’ was to ‘line their pockets at the expense of their victims.’
By setting up a website, the fraudsters referenced the name ‘Esure’ on it but the car and travel insurer became aware of this copyright infringement in April 2013 and took legal action against AHD Solutions to put a stop to brand misuse.
They operated their limited company called ‘AHD Solutions’ from a ‘real office’ between June 2012 and August 2013 and even employed someone on work experience who had no knowledge of the scam but who later became a ’key witness’ in the case.
Matt Gilham, head of financial crime at Esure, said: “This is an important case as it exposed members of the public to minicab drivers unwittingly working with invalid insurance.”
He said it was ‘vital’ to collaborate with the police and IFB to tackle wider fraud.
Esure’s actions were enough to stop AHD solutions trading but the trio then went on to set up a second business called ‘Kab Insure’ to continue the scam.
IFB linked approximately nine trade policies and 14 personal lines policies to the scammers, it identified 65 vehicles which it believed to be private hire vehicles with invalid policies.
The fraud intelligence hub then passed this on to the MPS who obtained warrants collaborating to raid the two addresses in East London where arrests were made.
Potter added: “This sentencing should serve as a stark warning to anyone that may consider orchestrating an insurance fraud scam. Ghost broking is an issue that we take extremely seriously, we are continuously working with the industry and police to reduce its impact and prevent these fraudsters causing further harm to potential victims.”
IFB stressed that it is ‘absolutely essential’ for customers to remember to only purchase a policy via a ‘reputable source,’ they have advised people to visit the BIBA website listing for brokers, the Financial Services Register and use insurers that are members of the Motor Insurer’s Bureau (MIB) as a safety measure.
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