For some light relief (this is being posted on a Friday afternoon after all!) any practitioner involved in PI cases where fraud is alleged could be advised as to look no further than the detailed article published on the BBC Wales’ website about a successful prosecution of a so-called ‘crash for cash’ ring, in this case an extended family. This would appear to be something of an extreme case, the publicisation of which will no doubt be pleasing to insurance companies seeking to highlight what they suggest is the prevalence of such behaviour, albeit on a less industrial scale.
The modus operandi of the Yandell family from south Wales was to submit claims for entirely fraudulent road traffic accidents replete with bogus repair invoices, hire car charge invoices and other bogus evidence as well as various friends and relatives roped in as phantom passengers. Police suspected they made in excess of £2 million over the years.
A particularly (though soberly unsurprising for anyone concerned with such claims, such as the author) runs:
“ ‘Originally they'd tried a couple of collisions to get a bit of extra cash,’ said DC Jon Parkinson. ‘They realised there was a lot of money to be made.’
The Yandells also realised that insurance companies would soon become suspicious if the same names kept cropping up on claims.To get around this, they began roping in friends and other family members. The more names and addresses involved, the less risk there was of insurance company fraud investigators smelling a rat.
It worked something like this:
- The Yandells and their associates would invent car accidents in which one party would pose as the non-fault driver
- The at-fault vehicle would either have high mileage or be mechanically problematic. No loss as it was worth more as a write-off and money could be made by removing parts, headlamps, gearboxes
- The non-fault party then submits an insurance claim for damage to their car, personal injury, courtesy car, crash repairs and so on
- The Yandells would submit fraudulent courtesy car and repair invoices to insurers
- Other family members and friends or friends-of-friends would then be roped into the deal. They agreed to lie and say they were in the car at the time
- A flurry of cheques follow ranging from £10,000 to £40,000 per accident - new cars, personal injury payouts, courtesy car charges and bogus repair bills
But the accident had never happened. So, before any inspectors arrived from insurance companies, the Yandells had to make sure the cars looked suitably smashed up.
The gang would damage cars with hammers, or drive cars into one another ... ”
The extensive article includes photographs and excerpts from BBC Wales' Week In Week Out current affairs programme, including footage of cars being deliberately damaged to bolster claims – to repeat, it’s really worth a read/watch!
The good news is that the report states that the Yandells have been stopped. Prosecutions were buoyed by the availability of CCTV footage as well as intelligence gleaned from social media. The BBC suggested that in total over the past five years some 83 people have been found guilty in the criminal courts for this fraud, specifically: 81 on conspiracy to defraud and two for theft. It is said that they received sentences ranging from six years in jail to suspended prison terms. Next week the final five people involved are due to be sentenced.
The article is available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-35357195.