Horwich Farrelly, the leading specialist insurance law firm, and LV= General Insurance (LVGI) have dealt a further blow to dishonest claims enablers by securing the committal of Haroon Karim, the former director of multiple claims management agencies/hire companies. Karim was found guilty of contempt of court and sentenced to six months imprisonment.
These proceedings arose from a previous case conducted by Horwich Farrelly in conjunction with LV= where Judge Godsmark QC at Nottingham County Court ruled that a solicitor at the now defunct Asons had made “gross failures” in handling a personal injury claim in which key documents were found to contain forged signatures. Asons’ conduct was described as “improper, unreasonable and negligent” in not verifying the documentation being supplied to them by Karim. In addition, the judge found evidence that Asons were responsible for “backdating [falsifying] correspondence to disguise non-compliance with court timetabling”.
Karim (33), from Nottingham and formerly a director of, amongst others, ACA Claims Ltd, ACA Accident Claims Assistant Ltd, Medicals Elite Ltd, Easy Go Hire Ltd and Medical Healthcare Services Ltd, was one of Asons larger sources of work – his dishonesty has now been exposed and punished.
Karim had originally been found on the balance of probabilities to have forged a claimant’s signature on various documents, including the Claim Form used to start proceedings without the claimant’s knowledge. His and his families companies stood to gain financially from the claim had it succeeded. As a result of the original action, both Asons and Karim were jointly liable to pay LV=’s costs of defending the action, which were ultimately assessed in the region of £50,000.
After the hearing, Horwich Farrelly and LV= proceeded a further case against Karim for contempt of court and he was found guilty on 5th July in the High Court in Nottingham and sentenced to six months imprisonment.
In his judgment, HHJ Godsmark QC said that Mr Karim made “fanciful and speculative assertions” and “he ran a CMC with substantial rewards.” He also noted to Mr Karim that “forging court documents in line with your business must meet with a custodial sentence.”
Ronan McCann, Managing Partner at Horwich Farrelly, said: “This ruling highlights Horwich Farrelly’s commitment to always working alongside the industry to ensure fraudsters and professional enablers receive the punishment that they deserve. This case sends a clear message to professional enablers that insurers will not stop in their efforts to stamp out fraudulent claims, and ensure that honest customers do not suffer from the dishonest actions of others”.
Clare Lunn, LV= GI Fraud Director, said: “This is a fantastic outcome and will hopefully serve as a stark reminder that those in positions of trust should uphold the professional standards that are expected of them. Mr Karim abused his profession and let down his clients by forging documents and potentially landing them with large legal bills. We’re glad to see that he will now be serving time behind bars, as well as paying back every penny we accrued in costs. As an industry, we need to continue to take a tough stance against such conduct which will act as a deterrent to stop underhand practices like this.”