The name of the game: Man sentenced after using two names to claim twice for the same car accident
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A man from Manchester who made claims to Aviva for the same car accident in two different names has been handed a suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay back £58,000 in compensation.
Darren Jacobson, 47, of Mesne Le Road, Worsley, also misrepresented his claims history and criminal record when setting up a policy with Zurich, concealing information which would have meant the cover would have been denied.
Information shared between the two insurers suggested that Jacobson had defrauded both companies. The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) referred these claims to the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) for investigation. Officers from the unit uncovered that Jacobson had defrauded the insurers out of around £60,000.
Jacobson, formerly known as Darren Morris, was sentenced on 7 April 2022 at Southwark Crown Court to 22 months in prison suspended for 18 months, ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work over and must pay back £58,000 in compensation to Aviva and Zurich. He previously pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by false representation on Thursday 18 November 2021.
Police Staff Investigator Abdelkader Rezkallah, from IFED at the City of London Police, said:
“Today’s outcome follows the sentencing of Natalie Hasford in November 2021, who lied about being a passenger in Jacobson’s car at the time of the collision. It seems that both fraudsters saw this accident as an opportunity to gain financially through bogus personal injury claims. Whilst Hasford completely fabricated her involvement in the collision, Jacobson used his change of name to claim twice for the same injuries.
“Jacobson then went on to defraud another insurer by providing inaccurate information upon application – information which would have meant his application would have been rejected.
“Jacobson clearly believed that he could take advantage of his new name to make multiple claims and to cover up his chequered history with other insurers. However, the truth has reared its ugly head in the end, and Jacobson will now face justice for his actions.”
In 2011, Darren Morris changed his surname by deed poll to Jacobson. Two years later, Jacobson used his former name to incept a car insurance policy for a Range Rover, which was a criminal offence due to his name now being legally changed.
A vehicle hire company acting on behalf of Morris contacted Aviva in May 2014 to report a collision in the Manchester area. The initial report stated that a Ford Transit van, driven by one of Aviva’s policyholders, pulled from a side road and collided with Morris’ Range Rover whilst he was carrying three other passengers. Morris was referenced as the driver of the vehicle, whilst Jacobson was said to be the front seat passenger.
As the account of the van driver and the damage outlined in the engineer’s report corroborated Morris’ story, Aviva authorised a payment of £10,000 to settle the cost of damage to the Range Rover.
Aviva received personal injury claims in the following week for the three passengers in the vehicle: Darren Jacobson, Natalie Hasford and another female passenger. The personal injury claim for Morris was not submitted at this time, but was received by the insurer around nine months later.
Jacobson attended medical examinations in both his current and former names for neck, back and hip injuries. After the deduction of legal fees, £2,645.84 was paid to Jacobson and £3,751.69 to Morris, meaning that Jacobson received a total of nearly £6,500 in compensation for injuries sustained during the collision.
Around one month after he received the final payment, Jacobson took out another car insurance policy with Zurich, declaring to the insurer that he had only made one claim in the past five years and had no criminal record.
Zurich received a claim for damage to Jacobson’s Lamborghini Aventador – valued at around £290,000 - in September 2017, which had been damaged in a car park in Manchester. The circumstances surrounding the incident did not appear to be suspicious, therefore nearly £45,000 was paid out for the repairs as well as £5,000 for hire of a vehicle. However, when Jacobson submitted another claim for damage to the vehicle in a restaurant car park around five months later, the insurer decided to investigate the claim further.
Enquiries established that Jacobson had previously been Morris, and uncovered multiple claims linked to both these names as well as criminal convictions. Zurich notified Jacobson that, had they been aware of the misrepresentation in his application, the cover would have been refused. This also meant that Jacobson’s policy was void from the date of inception, and so he would not have been entitled to the £45,000 claimed for the damage to the Lamborghini.
IFED officers interviewed Jacobson in connection with the fraud committed against both insurers. Jacobson answered ‘no comment’ to all questions.
Stephen Dalton, Head of Intelligence and Investigations at the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) said:
“Fraudsters like Darren Jacobson – also known as Darren Morris - need to learn that their web of lies will catch up with them. Fortunately, because we work so closely with the police and insurers to detect suspicious activity, we could quickly establish the fraudulent links in this complex case and help to bring Jacobson to justice.
“We hope this serves as an important reminder to anyone who thinks it’s OK to make a bogus insurance claim, that fraud is never worth the risk.”
Carl Mather, Special Investigations Unit Manager at Aviva, welcomed the outcome of thehearing:
“Darren Jacobson was a determined fraudster who misrepresented important facts to obtain insurance cover on favourable terms. Together with Natalie Hasford, he then abused that cover and cynically exploited an opportunity to present a false claim for personal injury.
“Jacobson’s conviction and sentence is a deterrent to others who may believe insurance fraud is a victimless crime and a chance worth taking, particularly in times of economic stress – it isn’t, and a criminal conviction can seriously threaten job security and future career prospects.
“Aviva is committed to protecting genuine customers from the impact of fraud losses and was at the forefront of introducing whiplash reforms which now make injury claims less attractive to fraudsters. Aviva will also continue to invest in effective fraud detection solutions, support the prosecution of offenders and actively pursue the recovery of fraudulent payments.”
Scott Clayton, Head of Fraud at Zurich, said:
“It’s important people give accurate answers when they apply to take out a policy, or they could invalidate their cover or end up on the wrong side of the law.
“Deliberately giving false information, such as hiding a past conviction, to obtain a lower premium pushes up the cost of insurance for everyone, and we will always remain vigilant of fraudsters to protect the honest majority.”