A company director has been sentenced after he doctored a ‘Form of Acceptance’, which he’d used previously, in an attempt to bypass his policy’s claim limit and falsely gain £405k from the insurer.
On Tuesday 14 January 2020, at Woolich Crown Court, Edward De Camborne Lucy, 44, of Hazel Street, Stockbury, Kent, was found guilty of one count of Fraud by False Representation and one count of Making or Supplying Article for use in Fraud. He was subsequently sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for 18 months. He was also ordered to pay £33,410 in compensation, court costs of £6,590 and a £114 victim surcharge.
Detective Sergeant Donna Murdoch from the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department, said:
“De Lucy was in a difficult situation with the future of his company, but it was no excuse for the fraud he committed to try and deceive Aviva and gain £405k.
“No matter what circumstances people find themselves in, no-one should turn to insurance fraud as a means of improving their finances. Anyone who does, irrespective of their situation, will be caught and brought before the court to answer for their actions.”
The City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) led on the criminal investigation into De Lucy’s fraudulent activity. IFED launched their investigation following a referral from Aviva, which provided insurance for the company in which De Lucy held position of director.
De Lucy made a claim to Aviva stating that several display screens, which his company provided to a sports club, had been damaged beyond repair due to a storm and were worth £428,679.
Aviva’s loss adjusters agreed that the display boards were damaged beyond repair, but advised De Lucy that there was a policy limit of £200,000 for this claim.
Despite this, an accountant acting on behalf of De Lucy, sent an email to the loss adjusters with a ‘Form of Acceptance’ in the sum of £405,142, requesting an update on the progress of the claim.
The form was signed by De Lucy and appeared to have been generated by the loss adjusters. However, upon closer inspection, it was uncovered that the form contained a unique Aviva claim reference number, which linked to a previous theft claim which De Lucy had made several months before. This claim had been dealt with by the same loss adjuster and had been settled for the sum of £9,792.
This detail revealed that De Lucy had used the previous ‘Form of Acceptance’, but altered the settlement amount to try and claim £405,142, despite knowing that the company’s policy limit for the claim was £200k.
Tom Gardiner, Head of Fraud, Aviva, said:
“We are pleased with Mr De Lucy’s guilty verdict and 18 month sentence – which reflects that insurance fraud is a crime and a serious offence, which ultimately pushes up premiums for honest customers.
“In Mr De Lucy’s case, his firm suffered a genuine loss which was covered by his policy with Aviva – but which he then tried to inflate by over £200k. Unfortunately, rather than being better off as a result of his fraud, Mr De Lucy is now a lot worse off, will not recover any of his claim, and will be required to repay approx. £40k in fees and costs. The message from today’s judgment is clear – that insurance fraud is a crime, and it’s increasingly likely that you will be caught, prosecuted and face the prospect of a custodial sentence.”
During their investigation, the loss adjustors also discovered that there was a petition to wind up De Lucy’s company in the next few days. However, De Lucy had not notified the loss adjustors of this and the financial difficulty his company was experiencing.