Insurance fraudsters from Preston have been jailed after fake car insurance and medical insurance claims – totalling more than £400,000.Advertisement
The gang, which included qualified solicitors, were found to be fiddling claims after a complex investigation into a number of companies.
A group of six men, all from Preston, have been jailed for a total of 13 and a half years at Liverpool Crown Court for their roles in the scams.
The men were working for a number of established legal firms and a medical insurance firm.
Nadir Suleman, 31, from Clement Road, Fulwood, jailed for four years.
Arif Patel, 33, Highgate Avenue, Fulwood, jailed for two years and eight months.
Nadim Iqbal, 28, Greyfriars Avenue, Fulwood, jailed for two years and four months.
Aadiel Salya, 29, Walton-le-Dale, jailed for two years and disqualified from being a company director for seven years.
Wasim Iqbal, 27, Manor Avenue, Fulwood, jailed for one year and three months.
Alex Butler, 29, Parklands Drive, Fulwood, jailed for one year and three months and banned from being a company director for seven years.
The first incident happened in September 2012 when Suleman, who was working at Farleys Solicitors in Blackburn, made a claim on behalf of his wife after her Mini Cooper fell from a ramp when it was being repaired.
The car was written off and Suleman submitted a claim to NIG Insurance via Farleys, bypassing the solicitor’s company procedures.
As well as claiming for the Mini Cooper, Suleman claimed solicitor’s fees and the hire of a vehicle from Matrix Car Hire – a company controlled by his contact Arif Patel.
The insurance company then found the hire vehicle was being advertised for sale at a car dealership in Kent, enquiries found that neither the dealership or the new buyer knew anything about Patel and Suleman.
NIG queried the claim and referred the case to the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department at City of London Police in April 2013, who launched an investigation.
In March 2014 the homes of Suleman and Patel were raided by officers and the pair were arrested.
Evidence seized exposed the size of their fraudulent activity in the Preston area, files on a computer sized from Suleman’s house showed he was involved in a number of fraudulent medical insurance claims.
Patel also had a number of fraudulent invoices which had been altered to show treatments which had never been given to patients. Their phones were confiscated by officers and Whatsapp conversations found on them, began to show the size of the organised criminal network involved.
In May 2014, officers arrested Nadim Iqbal at Dylan Nair Solicitors, where he was working as a Paralegal. A search of his desk found falsified medical reports with Farleys Solicitors referenced.
Nadim Iqbal also had several incriminating photographs of invoices on his phone, one showing an invoice and a Dylan Nair cheque for £3,000 made payable to Butler. When officers searched the boot of Nadim Iqbal’s car they found eight claim files for road traffic accidents, a number of these files appeared unusual and one of them being for a client linked to Plus One Medical which Dylan Nair had no trading relationship with.
When officers investigated Plus One Medical, they found that fraudulent claims were being made. Further investigation into the cheque made payable to Butler led officers to Wasim Iqbal who was employed by Eastway Solicitors as a trainee solicitor. Wasim Iqbal was found to be a close friend of Butler who was the director of Plus One Medical. The pair were arrested on 7 August 2014 and officers found a bundle of fraudulent Plus One Medical invoices on Wasim Iqbal’s desk at Eastway Solicitors. Butler’s computer and phone were seized and later examination of these items showed them to be making fake medical claims.
Further examination of Suleman and Patel’s phones led detectives to arrest Salya in February 2015. His phone and computer were seized and officers found that he was a key player in ReplaceMyCar; a fraudulent hire care company that Suleman and Patel had been naming when they had been making false claims.
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Head of the City of London Police’s insurance fraud enforcement department detective inspector Oliver Little said: “This is a groundbreaking case for the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department; we have been investigating these solicitors and their associates for a number of years, working tirelessly with the insurance industry, Lancashire Police and the solicitors firms involved to ensure that these men were finally brought to justice.
“These men abused their professional roles, betrayed their employers and exploited the insurance industry for their own monetary gain. Today they are facing the consequences of their greed and these sentences should help to deter other professionals from pursuing a criminal path”.
A spokesman for Farleys solicitors said: We would like to thank City of London Police for their painstaking work in bringing Mr Suleman and his co-conspirators to justice. As a Solicitor, Mr Suleman was required to conduct himself with integrity and to the highest professional standards. Instead, he conspired with others to embark on a complex fraud, letting down his clients, the good name of Farleys and the Solicitors profession.
“We have ensured that no client has suffered any financial loss as a result of his conduct which has been reported to the Solicitors Regulation Authority who will now take steps to remove him from the Solicitors Roll.”
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Director of general insurance policy for the Association of British Insurers James Dalton said: “This ruling shows that the industry will do whatever it takes to root out anyone who abuses their professional position to commit insurance fraud. The dishonesty of these solicitors and their associates tarnishes the reputation of those honest claimant lawyers. These sentences reflect the fact that never has the likelihood of receiving a custodial sentence and collecting a criminal record, that could destroy careers, been greater.”
Head of counter fraud intelligence with NIG Mike Brown said: “Insurance fraud is not a victimless crime. We are committed to working in partnership with enforcement agencies to detect, disrupt and prosecute those involved in this type of criminality. The sentences handed down today should serve as a stark warning to those that seek to commit insurance fraud.”