`Steak’ Your Claim Sir? Not if You’re Using Injury Photos from You Tube

Latest anti-fraud news from the IFED: A man was sentenced to 8 months, suspended for 2 years, for fraud by false representation at Bradford Crown Court on Wednesday 11 April 2018 after pleading guilty on 19 February 2018 at Bradford Crown Court.

Nasar Ali, 38, of Grandage Terrace, Bradford was staying at a hotel on 12 February 2015 when he claims he cut his thumb on a steak knife. He also received 200 hours unpaid community work, a fine of £1,420 and a restraining order preventing him from returning to any premises insured by Allianz for the next 5 years.

Was there an injury?

The City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) was contacted in 2015 by Allianz when they received the claim made by Ali against the hotel. He claimed that, having ordered room service, it was delivered to him by a night porter who had wrapped the steak knife inside a napkin.

Ali claims to have called the hotel reception and informed the night manager that he had cut his thumb on the steak knife. The night manager said he offered to go to Ali’s room and provide first aid but that this was refused. Ali denies that first aid was offered.

When the porter returned to Ali’s room, Ali had a makeshift bandage wrapped around his hand with what appeared to be blood. He then pulled the bandage back to reveal a small puncture wound to his thumb. The porter believed the amount of blood was excessive for the comparatively small injury.

Minutes later, Ali went to the reception with a dressing around his hand. The receptionist did not see any blood or the injury. Ali told the night manager that he had taken photos of the injury on his phone and showed them to him. The night manager was shocked to see how deep the cut was, but Ali refused a second offer of medical attention. Although Ali’s photos showed towels covered in blood, the night manager did not find any blood or evidence of the injury when he visited the room.

The claim unravels

On 21 February 2015, Ali sent an email to the hotel seeking compensation in which he described what had happened and attached photographs of a thumb injury. As a result, Allianz, the hotel’s insurer, became involved in the case. Ali then emailed Allianz on 15 March 2015 and stated he had lost £10,960 as he had not been able to work as a result of the injury. On 28 April 2015, Allianz examined the photos sent to them by Ali and discovered that the images had actually come from a YouTube video uploaded in January 2012. No money was paid out to Ali as a result of the claim.

Following an investigation by IFED officers, Ali was voluntarily interviewed in March 2016.

Detective Chief Inspector, Andy Fyfe of the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department said: “Ali saw no problem with exaggerating a personal insurance claim and committing a crime to feed his own personal greed.

“On the night of the supposed accident, not only did he cause unnecessary inconvenience to the hotel staff, but he then went on to commit a crime.

“False insurance claims such as this one lead to increased overall costs to the public for their genuine insurance policies and drive-up the cost of hotels. As a result everyone is made to suffer by insurance fraudsters.

“The Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department is committed to working with the insurance industry to catch fraudsters like Ali and stop them from making money from these crimes.”

Nick Kelsall, Allianz Insurance’s Fraud Manager added: “This case is an example of the extreme lengths that fraudsters will go to for their own financial gain. Our fraud team undergo rigorous training, which includes the use of new technologies, to detect fraudulent claims.

“Thanks to our sophisticated training and the excellent detective work of our handler, we were able to analyse the images and provide the police with unimpeachable evidence that they had been altered. This is becoming too common and people such as Ali are naïve to think that they can get away with this.”

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