A group of men from London have been jailed after deliberately causing a collision on a busy A-road, which saw an innocent driver plough into the back of a car at around 50 miles per hour.
The trio went on to make claims which could have resulted in a loss of £49,869.50 to the insurer.
Damning CCTV footage and inconsistencies in the accounts of the men raised alarms bells with the insurer, who referred the case to the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) for investigation.
The investigation was referred to the unit by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB).
After being found guilty at trial for conspiracy to defraud in July 2021, the group were sentenced at Inner London Crown Court on Friday 17 September 2021:
•Kudrat Azizi, 34, of Harrow, 20 months imprisonment.
•Ghulem Haider, 33, of Brent, 12 months imprisonment.
•Miatullah Marufkhail, 29, of Harrow, 9 months imprisonment.
Detective Constable Haywood, from the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED), said:
“Once again, ‘crash for cash’ drivers have shown that they have no qualms in endangering the lives of innocent road users. Cases like this demonstrate the pure greed of calculated insurance fraudsters and the measures they will take to gain financially.
“The fact that the decoy vehicle was stopped by police on the exact same road just an hour after the first collision begs the question: were the group planning to cause another crash in the same way? Thankfully they did not, and they have now been brought to justice for this deceitful and dangerous scheme.”
A bright green BMW 320I was being driven onto the A1(M) in Hertfordshire with Haider in the passenger seat. Marufkhail was driving ahead of this car in a silver BMW 118D and as a slip road merged with the A-road, he slowed down whilst the green BMW suddenly braked in front of a Peugeot 2008, causing the unknowing driver to collide into its rear at speed. The impact of the crash deployed the Peugeot’s airbags, as well as shattering the windscreen and causing substantial damage to the front of the vehicle.
The silver BMW sped off as the driver of the green BMW and the driver of the Peugeot, who sustained injuries to his hand and forearm, pulled over to exchange details.
Around an hour after the collision occurred, Hertfordshire Police stopped the silver BMW on the same A-road, the driver identified himself as Marufkhail.
In the months following the crash, a number of personal injury claims were made against the Peugeot driver’s insurer by the driver of the green BMW, including claims by Haider and Azizi. The Peugeot driver had only seen two occupants in the car, meaning that Azizi made his claim as a phantom passenger.
The initial claims forms submitted by the men were almost identical, with each citing whiplash-type injuries sustained to the neck and back, that they sought medical attention the day after the accident and that they did not take any time off from work as a result of the accident.
However, the medical reports which were later provided stated that Haider had been unable to work for four weeks due to the injuries, whilst Azizi had taken four months off from work.
A £6,930 claim for the cost of a hire car was also submitted, which had been ordered as a replacement for the green BMW.
Home Office Immigration Enforcement arrested Marufkhail for an unrelated matter in October 2017. During a search of his property, documentation was seized which related to both the silver and green BMWs, indicating a connection between the men.
IFED later arrested and interviewed Haider and Marufkhail on the same day. Marufkhail provided a prepared statement which denied his involvement in the fraud and asserted that he was not driving the silver BMW at the time of the collision. Haider told officers that he did not recall the exact events which led to the crash as he was on his phone, but he did confirm that Azizi was not a passenger in the green BMW and that Marufkhail was driving the silver BMW ahead.
Azizi was also questioned by IFED officers, during which he admitted to knowing the other suspects during the interview. He insisted that he had no knowledge of the collision and that he had not attended a medical examination for the personal injury claim.
Stephen Dalton, Head of Intelligence and Investigations at the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), said:
“These calculating ‘Crash for Cash’ fraudsters fuelled by their selfish greed, clearly had no care for the pain and distress they caused their victim to suffer. I’m pleased that this gang has been brought to justice and that innocent road users in Hertfordshire are protected from the harm they posed. ‘Crash for Cash’ fraud will never be tolerated, and we are working closely with IFED and the insurance industry to put a stop to these appalling car crash scams.”