On Wednesday (11 April 2018), a man was jailed for attempting to steal over £321,000 by selling 21 fake car insurance policies and making 18 fraudulent motor insurance claims for fictional car accidents.
Following an investigation by the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED), with support from the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) and multiple insurance companies, Abdul Hakim, 27, of Thorney Hill Close, Oldham, pleaded guilty to all charges of fraud by false representation and was sentenced at Bradford Crown Court to three years and eight months in prison.
Ghost broking victims
Hakim acted as a ghost broker and enticed unsuspecting drivers with offers of cheap car insurance, when in reality the cover was fake. He offered discounted prices by altering the address on the policy to a location where the cost of an insurance policy is especially low, such as rural parts of the UK.
Once Hakim incepted the policies using the fake ‘low-value’ addresses, he would then alter them again with the victim’s actual address so they remained unaware that the policy was fake.
While his victim’s thought they were getting a good deal, Hakim was stealing their money by incorporating a ‘finder’s fee’ and also charging them hundreds or thousands more than what it had originally cost him to purchase the policy using the low-value address. In some instances, there was over £3,000 in the difference.
Fake Insurance Claims
In September 2015, the IFB referred to IFED several motor insurance claims collected from multiple insurers, who had identified them as being fraudulent. There were also some referrals directly from insurers. From these referrals, IFED carried out further investigations into Hakim and discovered that he’d been making false motor insurance claims using the details of his ghost broking victims.
Hakim would search legitimate websites which advertised damaged vehicles for sale and use these vehicles to fabricate an accident that never happened. With access to his victim’s online insurance account, he’d then contact the insurer, pretending to be the policy holder and provide details of the crash and accept fault for it.
Hakim would then go onto contact the same insurer, but this time posing as the other driver involved in the accident – either directly as them or their claims management company. He’d provide identical details of the accident and make a claim for compensation.
Exaggerated false claims
To substantiate his false claims and generate as big a pay-out as possible, Hakim would provide falsified engineer reports, heavily inflated credit hire charges and fake evidence for personal injuries sustained during the accident. On a few occasions, Hakim also called purporting to be from solicitors representing the claimant.
The IFB and insurance companies were suspicious of the claims and passed their information onto IFED. They identified that they were fraudulent claims as they often involved people who didn’t exist, or people who did not live at the address provided at the time the policy was incepted. In some instances, the vehicles included in the claim had in fact been involved in identical accidents and declared written off a long time before the fictional accident.
In total, Hakim’s 18 false insurance claims amounted to around £321,000, while the estimated loss with regards to the 21 fake policies from his ghost broking fraud is more than £21,000. On 13 March 2018, Hakim was arrested and subsequently charged.