It is believed to be the first time that a court has imprisoned both a fraudulent claimant and the alleged driver of the decoy vehicle in a "crash for cash" scam.
The fraudulent attempt was foiled by the immediate suspicions of Markerstudy's policyholder (the Defendant), whose actions after the incident not only helped ensure that the insurance company did not have to pay these fraudulent claims, but landed the two fraudsters in prison.
The incident had taken place on a roundabout on Bradford Road in Bradford. The Defendant had followed a Vauxhall Astra, driven by Mr Iqbal, and a Toyota Avensis. The vehicles were driving side by side on a dual carriageway on the approach to a roundabout. The Defendant noticed that the Avensis' registration plate was very similar to his own.
The Avensis and the Astra entered the roundabout. Whilst half way around, the Avensis undertook the Astra, drifting into its lane. Mr Iqbal slammed on his brakes, performing an emergency stop. The Defendant was surprised by the sudden braking and, unable to stop in time, collided with the Astra. When he got out of his van he asked Mr Iqbal why he had braked in the manner he did. Mr Iqbal blamed the dangerous driving of the Avensis. The Defendant was concerned that he may have been the victim of a "crash for cash" scam and that the two drivers had been conspiring to deliberately cause an accident.
Whilst exchanging details, Mr Iqbal initially gave an address in Nottingham. However, the envelope on which Mr Iqbal was writing his details contained a letter stating his address as Maudsley Street in Bradford. The Defendant, becoming increasingly suspicious, asked why Mr Iqbal had tried to give him the wrong address, and he made a note of the Bradford address. Mr Iqbal became defensive and subsequently drove away.
Knowing where Maudsley Street was, the Defendant decided to take a detour on his way home. When he arrived in Maudsley Street, he saw that the same Avensis that had cut up the Astra on the roundabout was parked outside Mr Iqbal's address. The Defendant called 999. Whilst on the phone to the Police, Mr Iqbal's Astra arrived and parked near to the Avensis. The Defendant also called his insurer, Markerstudy. Markerstudy subsequently investigated the accident, having received claims from Mr Iqbal for personal injury and for vehicle damage in the sum of £1,620.00. Mr Iqbal also claimed credit hire costs in the sum of £1,840.68. The claim for injury would have been worth around £3,000.
Those investigations revealed that the owner of the Avensis was in fact the landlord of the address Mr Iqbal had tried to conceal from the Defendant at the scene of the accident. Further enquiries about the landlord's claims history found that his son, Kasim Javed had also been investigated for a claim he made following a collision on the same roundabout in July 2016 that was also thought to be a 'crash for cash' scam.
With the evidence pointing to Kasim Javed being the driver of the Avensis, rather than the owner, Markerstudy decided to pursue both Mr Iqbal and Mr Javed for the parts they played in the scam, seeking exemplary damages.
At the Manchester High Court in December 2017, Sir Alistair MacDuff found that both Mr Iqbal and Mr Javed conspired to try to defraud the Defendant and Markerstudy. Committal Proceedings were pursued immediately after that Trial. Mr Justice Dingemans at hearings on 25 and 26 June 2019 sentenced Mr Iqbal to ten months imprisonment and Mr Javed to two months imprisonment. The Judge could see no good reason to suspend either of their sentences.
Allan Peak, Head of Technical Fraud at Markerstudy said, “This is an excellent example of both the effectiveness of the industry’s fraud awareness campaign and the diligence on the part of our customer. Because of the policyholder’s awareness and quick thinking, we have been able to detect this attempted fraud, ensure the perpetrators have been justly punished and helped to protect the public in general from the dangerous menace of crash for cash scams.”
Benedict Harper of DWF Law LLP – Fraud and Financial Crime Team – said, "The incredible actions of the policyholder led to the insurance company being able to identify the 'decoy' vehicle, which is extremely rare, and the two men responsible being put behind bars. "Crash for cash" scams put innocent members of the public in serious danger. We are pleased that Mr Justice Dingemans, and the Court generally, have taken the actions of Mr Iqbal and Mr Javed very seriously."