Referral By Insurer leads to conviction

of Insurance Fraud Ring

Five men from London have been sentenced to a combined total of fourteen years in prison after being caught attempting to defraud insurers of sums totalling almost Stg£1m by way of sophisticated fraudulent property loss claims.

The five men are in their thirties were sentenced at London Crown Court on the 7th of November 2018 for a mix of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering offences by making fraudulent claims of property damage and loss of earnings at various bars and restaurants across England. Sentences were handed down at Inner London Crown Court following upon an investigation by the City of London Police Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department as a result of a referral from Zurich Insurance Company.

Initially suspicions were raised as a result of a claim for property damage and business interruption at a wine bar in Lincolnshire when one of the parties said damage was caused by a burst pipe.

Zurich sent out a Loss Adjuster to investigate the claim and when the Loss Adjuster arrived the Claimant said that the burst pipe had already been fixed by an Emergency Plumber. Investigations revealed that that claim was fraudulent and the City of London Policy began their investigations and took the view that other instances of fraud were being instigated by the same criminal ring. It was then discovered that this criminal gang had been operating nationally and had made claims against fourteen different insurers using the same tactic.

A complex investigation followed and several member of the ring were identified by obtaining their finger prints through examination of the wine bar in Lincolnshire from which the initial claim came. As investigations progressed it emerged that four wine bars were identified involving twenty six Insurance Policies, multiple false names for each of the criminal ring and fifteen successful claims which netted them almost €950,000.

Subsequently the proceeds of the claims were laundered through various bank accounts and withdrawn in cash from those accounts. Three members of the ring pleaded guilty to defrauding American Express after they were given gold business accounts which they used for high value purchases such as a Porsche Sports Car and a Rolex Watch. This fraud alone amounted to over €62,000. It also emerged that the men had attempted quite a number of other claims but they always checked which Loss Adjuster was appointed by the Insurer involved and if the same Adjuster was due to attend at the locus of the alleged loss they would ring to withdraw and cancel the claim lest they be uncovered. The criminal ring also changed their names by deed poll in a further attempt to avoid detection. Four of the men were given sentences ranging from two years to five years and one of them was given a twenty-month suspended prison sentence and 300 days of unpaid Community Service.

If you require any further detail or advice, please contact John Reid in O’Rourke Reid
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This document is for information purposes only and does not purport to represent legal advice.  
© O’Rourke Reid 2018