Wednesday, 21 October 2009
• Mohammed Patel charged £500 a time to stage 'accidents'
• Office workers noticed high number of crashes at roundabout
A "crash for cash" fraudster who lived the high life on the proceeds of staged accidents and cost the insurance industry £1.6m was jailed today.
Mohammed Patel, 24, charged £500 a time to stage accidents which enabled fraudsters to claim an average of £17,000 from insurers. He staged at least 93 crashes, earning himself around £46,000, Manchester's Minshull Street crown court heard.
Patel, of Bolton, Greater Manchester, admitted one count of conspiracy to defraud, six counts of dangerous driving and four counts of driving while disqualified. He was jailed for four and a half years and banned from driving for three and a half years.
William Baker, prosecuting, said Patel's earnings funded an "Aladdin's cave" at the home of his unemployed girlfriend, Ettorina Hay. The court heard the pair enjoyed luxurious foreign holidays and drove expensive cars.
Baker said the scam was exposed by suspicious office workers at Bovis Homes, who overlooked the Eden Point roundabout on the A34 at Cheadle Hulme. He said that in the latter part of 2005 "they became suspicious that road traffic accidents were being staged" because of the number and similarities of crashes.
Baker, describing the set-up, said: "One vehicle colliding with another at low speed with minor damage and often the same person driving the lead vehicle. They told drivers of the rear vehicles they thought they were the victim of fraud."
Baker said: "Mohammed Patel staged the road traffic accidents. He drove cars on to the roundabout and then stopped them so abruptly the vehicle behind could not avoid a collision.
Fraudulent claims, submitted by people not present at the scene whom Patel purported to be, were then made. Claims would include compensation for injuries such as whiplash, damage to the vehicle, a hire car, and storage of the damaged vehicle.
Baker said Patel staged the accidents between May 2005 and August 2008. Patel was arrested in Bolton on 7 August last year and gave a prepared statement to police. He pleaded guilty to the charges.
Crime Analysis Team
Nice 1 Limited
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