77 fraudsters guilty in second part of major crash-for-cash investigation

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16 people, including members of an organised criminal group from Luton, who were linked to nearly 80 crash for cash collisions have been sentenced for their crimes, resulting in over 32 years’ in prison as well as a number of suspended sentences. This follows a successful collaborative investigation between the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), the Eastern Regional Special Operations Unit (ERSOU), City of London Police’s Insurane Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) and the insurance industry.

The IFB were approached by ERSOU in November 2015 after they uncovered a large number of suspicious insurance documents when carrying out an unrelated warrant. ERSOU called upon IFB’s expertise to determine if the documents could be related to wider criminal activity.

The documents seized by ERSOU included insurance policies and claims forms which IFB were able to link to a number of suspected crash for cash incidents, painting an overall picture of the scam and identifying Raja Mehmood as being at the centre of it.

As part of the crash for cash scam, he would embroil innocent people in the criminal activity by arranging business meetings with unsuspecting victims and then fraudulently using their details to take out insurance policies on vehicles that would later be involved in collisions. The investigation revealed that Mehmood had been carrying out these reckless crimes for a number of years and would also involve family members and associates as part of the fraud.

The collisions would either be staged by damaging the vehicles off the road or by slamming on the brakes on public roads, putting lives at risks. Mehmood and his accomplices would then make exaggerated claims for vehicle damage and personal injury, such as whiplash, to make money.

IFB identified eight key claims and worked with the insurance industry to strengthen the case to prove the gang’s wrongdoing. While these claims formed the basis of the case against the gang, the investigation uncovered almost 80 collisions that could be directly linked to the group.

IFED were also concurrently investigating four of the fraudsters, including Mehmood, following a collision in April 2014 involving three vehicles. During their investigations, they were able to corroborate key pieces of evidence to assist ERSOU and the IFB with their wider investigation and continued to support throughout the duration.

ERSOU carried out the first of the warrants in 2015 and were able to seize more evidence to strengthen the investigation, including solicitor correspondence following collisions, vehicle documentation and copies of driving licences.

While Mehmood initially fled the country, ERSOU persevered with the case and in August 2017 arrested him at the airport as he returned to the UK.

In January 2018, Mehmood pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Fraud by False Representation and Conspiracy to Commit Dangerous Driving.

On 3, 4 and 7 January 2019, following a series of trials at St Albans Crown Court, Mehmood and his guilty accomplices received the following sentences:

• Raja Mehmood, 35 of Sherd Close, Luton, sentenced to 5 years 4 months’ in prison for conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and a consecutive 8 months’ in prison for conspiracy to commit dangerous driving
• Stephen Seaton, 47, of Pastures Way, Luton, sentenced to 4 years’ in prison for conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and a consecutive 9 months’ in prison for conspiracy to commit dangerous driving
• Mita Mistry, 37, of Newnham Way, Harrow, sentenced to 2 years 9 months’ in prison for conspiracy to commit fraud and 3 months’ in prison for conspiracy to drive dangerously, to be served consecutively
• Naveed Khan, 22, of Roman Road, Luton, sentenced to 32 months’ in prison for conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and a consecutive 6 months’ in prison for conspiracy to commit dangerous driving
• Nadeem Khan, 24, of Roman Road, Luton, sentenced to 4 years’ in prison for conspiracy to commit fraud and 6 months’ in prison for conspiracy to drive dangerously, to be served consecutively
• Renu Begum, 37, handed 180 hours’ community service for conspiracy to commit fraud
• Ajvinder Panesar, 37, of Albany Road, Tilbury, sentenced to 14 months’ in prison, suspended for 18 months, 60 hours’ community service and a 6-month curfew for conspiracy to commit fraud
• Salina Nagra, 28, of King Edward Drive, Grays, handed 150 hours’ community service for one count of fraud
• Maninder Grewal, 28, of Park View Gardens, Essex handed 150 hours’ community service for one count of fraud
• Suckbiar Bachra, 43, of Charlotte Avenue, Hitchin, sentenced to 8 months’ custodial suspended for 18 months, 180 hours’ community service and a 4-month curfew for conspiracy to commit fraud
• Ravinder Singh, 34, of Russell Street, Luton, sentenced to 21 months’ in prison suspended for 18 months for conspiracy to commit fraud as well as 200 hours’ community service
• Selhma Hussain, of Evelyn Avenue, London, sentenced to 3 years’ in prison for conspiracy to commit fraud and a consecutive 6 months’ in prison for conspiracy to drive dangerously
• Matthew Warr, 44, of Hillside Avenue, Borehamwood, sentenced to 3 years and 6 months’ in prison for conspiracy to commit fraud and a consecutive 6 months’ in prison for conspiracy to drive dangerously
• Ataf Hussain, 44, of Roman Road, Luton, sentenced to 3 years and six months’ in prison for conspiracy to commit fraud and 6 months in prison for conspiracy to drive dangerously, to be served consecutively
• Misba Illyas, 32, of Booker Place, High Wycombe, sentenced to 2 years’ in prison suspended for 18 months for conspiracy to commit fraud and 6 months’ in prison suspended for 18 months’ for conspiracy to drive dangerously to be served consecutively as well as 140 hours’ community service
• Rabia Miah, 37, of Fosse Close, Wellingborough, sentenced to 2 years’ in prison suspended for 18 months for conspiracy to commit fraud and 6 months’ in prison suspended for 18 months’ for conspiracy to drive dangerously to be served consecutively as well as 200 hours’ community service

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