10 years of fighting insurance fraud: IFED key convictions, 2012-2016
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As the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) celebrates 10 years since its launch, we are looking back at some of the units key convictions in its first five years.
IFED secured its first conviction just three months after launching, for a case involving a bogus whiplash claim.
A man from Leeds called his insurer to report an accident, claiming that he reversed into a lamppost while he had passengers in his vehicle and that they had suffered whiplash as a result.
Thinking that the phone call had finished, the fraudster proceeded to loudly boast to friends how his bogus claim was going to make him ‘a rich man’. Unfortunately for him, the call was still being recorded and the tape was soon handed over to IFED.
After hearing his own words played back to him, the man had little option but to reverse his not guilty plea.
The unit tackled what was believed to be the UK’s biggest fake car insurance scam, which saw 600 drivers lose around £550,000 in just 11 months by buying worthless policies. Two ‘ghost brokers’ were jailed for a combined total of four years as a result of the investigation.
The mastermind behind the plot created four websites offering cheap car insurance and used paid-for advertising to ensure his online enterprises appeared at the top of internet searches.
During a search of his property, IFED officers found a list of fictitious sales staff and an audio recording of office noise, thought to have been played while on the telephone to prospective customers.
A husband and wife duo were sentenced after faking the former’s death to collect over £1.1 million from life insurance policies and investments.
The wife contacted five insurance companies to inform them of her husband’s death from ‘brain fever’ while abroad. However, the story soon started to fall apart when the death certificate was found to be fake.
IFED discovered that the husband was in fact alive and well and had flown back to the UK eight months after his alleged death. A financial investigation revealed that the husband was in significant financial debt due to several failed businesses. He was jailed for two and a half years, while his wife received a five month suspended sentence for her part in the plot.
IFED carried out another successful life insurance fraud investigation, in which a man was jailed for seven years after attempting to defraud insurers out of £1.7 million.
The mysterious case involved an untraceable woman who took out three life insurance policies and made her male friend beneficiary for all of these.
Five months after the policies were taken out, the male beneficiary sent an email to the insurers with the subject line “VERY BAD NEWS”, in which he claimed that the woman had died in a road traffic accident in Uganda. Various documents were submitted, including a police report from local authorities.
IFED officers travelled to Uganda where they found that all the evidence had been forged, suggesting that the beneficiary had fabricated the death to claim the substantial pay outs.
An aircraft engineer who claimed that £189,000 worth of luggage was lost on a flight received two years in prison, after images of the scanned cases showed they were empty.
After taking a flight from Aberdeen to Istanbul via London, the fraudster claimed that specialist camera equipment – some of which he owned and some that he had hired – had been lost in transit between Heathrow and Istanbul.
IFED detectives made further enquiries with the airports and airlines, which gave them access to images of the bags as they were scanned through security. These images clearly showed that the four bags checked in were all empty.