After deliberately causing damage to his car, the fraudster is facing a ‘hefty fine, community service and criminal record’, says head of claims fraud

Shamim Ali, 53, of Ipswich Road, Norwich, has been sentenced for deliberately causing extensive damage to his car in an attempt to fraudulently claim on his insurance policy provided by Zurich.

The defendant claimed that his car had been vandalised whilst attending a party. However, discrepancies between the engineer’s report and his account triggered the insurer to refer the case to the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) for investigation.

As a result, Ali pleaded guilty on Friday 4 March 2022 at Suffolk Magistrates Court and was sentenced on the same day to 120 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £1,200 in compensation to Zurich.

“What started out as a night of festivity would soon turn into the day that Ali set himself up for a criminal record”, said IFED’s detective inspector Matthew Hussey, adding: “Whilst this may seem like a victimless crime, fraud like this costs honest policyholders in the form of raised premiums to cover investigation costs and losses.”

Case deep-dive

Zurich was contacted by Ali on 15 December 2018 to report that he had returned to his vehicle, after attending a party in Ipswich at around 10:30 pm on 14 December 2018 to 6:00 am the next day, to find that the driver’s window and both the windscreens had been smashed, as well as a dent and a large scratch on the bonnet.

Ali stated that he had driven from his home address in Norwich to the party, so, to assess the damage and cost of repair, Zurich then arranged for the vehicle – a BMW 318i – to be recovered from its location.

Although the engineer’s examination of the vehicle’s exterior matched Ali’s statement, an inspection of the engine revealed damage and oil contamination to its underside.

The report stated that this damage could not have been caused by the alleged vandalism when the car was parked. Instead, it indicated that the vehicle was being driven at the time of the engine failure and Ali was aware of the problem.

Further diagnostic reports, meanwhile, found that the vehicle’s only key was last used in October 2018, meaning that Ali did not drive the vehicle during the time of the event.

Hussey therefore said that it “seems Ali’s engine had failed a few months before, causing costly damage to the vehicle”. Rather than paying for repairs, he instead “attempted to exploit his insurance policy”, he added.

Fraud consequences

Despite Zurich reaching out regarding the inconsistencies, Ali maintained his version of events.

He then persisted with his story and stated that the insurer’s report must be incorrect during an interview with IFED officers, adding that a racist word had been etched onto the bonnet of the car.

Photos from the report, however, found no such thing.

Zurich’s head of claims fraud Scott Clayton said: “A hefty fine, community service and criminal record highlight the serious consequences of insurance fraud.

“The vast majority of claims we receive are legitimate. But we also have highly effective mechanisms in place to detect bogus claims and work closely with the police to prosecute offenders.”

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