FAMILY AFFAIR: Relatives sentenced for bogus insurance claims in ‘Crash for Cash’ plot
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A group of men from London have been sentenced for their involvement in a ‘Crash for Cash’ plot, in which they targeted an innocent road user to make bogus claims for personal injury and loss of earnings. The scam involved a father-and-son duo, as well as a cousin and a further accomplice. Had the four men been successful in their claims, they could have inflicted a loss of £27,500 on the insurer, esure.
The case was referred by esure to the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED). Investigations revealed that there were in fact only three occupants in the vehicle at the time of the collision, and that none of these were the claimants who reported to have been injured as a result of the accident.
The men were sentenced as follows:
Kevin Ryan, 45, of Westbourne Park Villas, Westminster, London, received a three month custodial sentence at Southwark Crown Court on Friday 30th April 2021.
George Stevens, 22, of Bramley Road, Kensington and Chelsea, London, received a twelve-month community order, with the requirement to follow an electronically-monitored curfew, and was ordered to pay £85 court costs at Westminster Magistrates Court on Monday 24 May 2021.
Paul Keenan, 50, of Norland Road, Kensington and Chelsea, London, was sentenced to twelve weeks imprisonment suspended for fifteen months, a forty-two day curfew and ten days Rehabilitation Activity Requirement at Inner London Crown Court on Monday 21 June 2021.
Daniel Keenan, 24, of Norland Road, Kensington and Chelsea, London, received a twelve-month community order and eighty hours of unpaid work at Inner London Crown Court on Monday 21 June 2021.
Detective Sergeant Matthew Hussey, from the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department, said:
“This was a preposterous attempt to defraud an insurer out of a significant amount of money. There were a number of red flags around the claims, but the major pitfall for the fraudsters was the indisputable dashcam footage. The footage proved that the men were not involved in the accident as they claimed, nor did the collision have the level of impact associated with such debilitating injuries.
“These men also shamelessly targeted an unknowing driver, putting his safety at risk and damaging his vehicle. Thankfully, this was a low-speed collision and the other driver was not hurt, but this is not always the case.
“IFED will continue to work hard to combat ‘Crash for Cash’ fraud. As lockdown restrictions lift and more of us head back out on the road, we urge drivers to remain wary and know the signs of this type of fraud in order to protect themselves.”
In March 2016, a Volkswagen Polo was travelling in front of a Mercedes-Benz in the Greenford area. The Volkswagen braked suddenly and unnecessarily in heavy traffic, causing the Mercedes-Benz to crash into its rear. The driver of the Mercedes-Benz exited his vehicle to speak with the other driver, as well as checking the damage to the cars and exchanging details.
The interaction between the two drivers was captured on the dashcam of the Mercedes-Benz. The footage clearly shows a white man in his 40s exiting the Volkswagen, followed by two slightly younger Asian men. These details matched the description of the occupants provided by the driver of the Mercedes-Benz.
The dashcam footage additionally shows the negligible impact of the collision, with only minor damage to the Volkswagen. This is reflected by the reaction of one of the occupants, who seems to shrug the accident off upon witnessing the damage.
esure, the insurer of the Mercedes-Benz, received notification of claims submitted by Daniel and Paul Keenan, Ryan and Stevens around a month after the accident took place. These claims were made in relation to personal injury and financial loss for the claimants.
Records indicate that the four men attended medical examinations on the exact same day for alleged whiplash injuries sustained in the accident. The same doctor examined the group, noting the detrimental impact the injuries had on each claimant’s ability to work and participate in leisure activities.
Daniel Keenan stated that he was unemployed at the time of collision, but that his injury had restricted him in playing football and boxing recreationally. Research into his background found that Keenan was in fact a boxer by occupation and that he had made his professional debut just five days after the accident took place. Keenan’s ability to take part in such a strenuous physical activity supported the suspicions that these were fictitious whiplash claims.
News article reporting Daniel Keenan's professional boxing debut just days after the collision.
Paul Keenan and Ryan both reported that they had been unable to work their jobs for a short period of time due to the injuries, whilst Stevens claimed to have been restricted in his ability to play football for leisure.
Further checks into the men uncovered discrepancies between their identities and those of the vehicle occupants in the dashcam video. Whilst the footage depicted a white man in his 40s and two slightly younger Asian men, the claimants were all white men aged 17, 18, 40 and 45. The footage was also unable to account for the fourth occupant reported by the claimants.
The men were subsequently interviewed by IFED officers. Ryan, Daniel and Paul Keenan answered no comment to almost all questions. However, Daniel Keenan did provide a prepared statement, in which he apologised for making a false claim after supposedly being contacted by a claims management company and encouraged to pursue the claim. He also confirmed that the Volkswagen was his car, but that he was not driving it at the time of the accident.
Volkswagen Polo after the crash.
Following difficulties tracing Stevens, the youngest of the group was marked as ‘wanted’ on the national police database and eventually arrested. During questioning, Stevens initially denied any knowledge of the claim. He later changed his account, admitting that he had provided his details to make the claim and that he was not involved in the accident. Stevens also confirmed that Paul and Daniel Keenan were his uncle and cousin.
Matt Gilham, Head of Financial Crime at esure, said:
“We are proud to be supporting the effort against organised crime and listening to our customers to address any concerns they have around ‘crash for cash’ scams. We continue to be focused on enforcing better and safer driving and our new ‘Driving good’ strategy is a core part of this.
“We are grateful for the work of the City of London Police in this case, and we will continue to work with them to ensure our customers can drive safely and feel protected.”