After an investigation from the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED), with help from LV=, Shabina Kassim, 35, and Nasir Ghaffar, 34, both pleaded guilty at the Inner London Court on Wednesday.
They were both sentenced to 15 months in prison, suspended for 18 months and ordered to £100 each in court costs. Ghaffar was also ordered to do 160 hours of unpaid work.
IFED were first made aware of the fraud following a referral by LV=. LV= became suspicious and launched an initial investigation into the pair, after one of their customers called and said he believed he’d been the victim of a contrived collision, caused by them.
He said that Kassima, Ghaffar and a third man, who was driving, changed lanes and cut him up just as he was pulling off from a set of traffic lights before performing an unecessary emergency stop.
After the collision, the road they were on in Cranford, London was closed for approximately three hours as emergency services attended the scene.
Kassim told police that she thought she was pregnant and suffered serious injuries to her back.
She was telling the truth about the back injuries, but after the London Fire Brigade attended the scene to cut her out of the car, a doctor confirmed that she was not pregnant.
A witness told IFED that Kassim moved into the driver’s seat after the collision as she had a driver’s license and would be able to submit a series of fraudulent claims through her insurance company.
The third man left the scene shortly after the crash. Kassim and Ghaffar said he was their friend, but when questioned, neither could give a surname or any contact details.
LV= received personal injury claims from Kassim and Ghaffar, with both stating that Kassim was the driver and that they were they only people in the car.
On top of this, the insurers for Kassim, who were unaware of the fraud at the time, contacted LV= and requested reimbursement for the costs linked to the car, such as vehicle damage and car hire costs.
Collectively, the personal injury claims, repair costs and legal costs amounted to £15,554. However, the money for the personal injury claims and legal costs were never paid to Kassim and Ghaffar.
Detective Constable Agnew, who led the investigation for IFED, said: “Kassim and Ghaffar went to great lengths to carry out their crash for cash plan and try and claim as much money as they could. However, the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department worked effectively with LV= to expose them and ensure they were brought to justice.
“On top of their deplorable actions to try and deceive the insurers, which put the safety of the victim at risk, they also wasted the precious time of three emergency services, potentially taking them away from genuine emergencies.”
Clare Lunn, LV= GI Fraud Director, said: “It’s bad enough that these fraudsters endangered the lives of other road users for financial gain, but to waste the valuable time of our emergency services in the process is truly shocking.
“The Police, Fire Brigade and Ambulance service were at the scene for over three hours, when they could have been out serving the public. We’re glad to see them receive suspended custodial sentences today and hope this will deter others. Crash-for-cash accidents can cause real harm to other road users and our services, so LV= is committed to pressing for the strongest possible punishment for those convicted.”
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