The City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) has today secured its first ‘crash for cash’ conviction after the driver of a Porsche admitted deliberately causing a crash with a council van on a dual carriageway so he could make fraudulent insurance claims. Mark Smith pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by false representation, in that he manufactured the collision in Doncaster in January 2009 so he could claim around £100,000 from insurers fordamage to his car, along with whiplash injuries.Smith had originally denied staging the crash, stating it was caused by his bad driving, admitting only to submitting two bogus insurance claims.At the Old Bailey today a Judge gave Smith a six month jail term suspended for two years and ordered him to complete 140 hours of unpaid work in the community within the next year. The case came to court after Zurich, the insurer of Doncaster Council’s van, referred suspicions about one of Smith’s claims to IFED, triggering a criminal investigation.CCTV footage from the tunnel section of the A638 showed Smith’s Porsche make an emergency stop causing the van to drive straight into the back of it. The Porsche is then seen moving onto the kerb andshortly after, heading out of the tunnel with little damage.
After the collision, the 42-year-old, of Moat House Way in Doncaster, submitted claims to his insurer and Zurich.Smith’s insurer paid out just over £25,000 to cover outstanding debts on the Porsche and a further £600 direct to him.However, Zurich was not convinced by Smith’s claim for car hire expenses of more than £22,000 and whiplash injuries in excess of £15,000 so took him to a civil court in May 2011 where his claim wasthrown out. At this point, Zurich referred the case to IFED.
– DC Kate Sibley, IFED
Smith must have thought a fancy car and clever plan would be the easy route tosecuring tens of thousands of pounds from insurers.The fact he was putting lives at risk by causing a crash, on a busy road, did not put the brakes on his fraud. He wanted this money and was prepared to go the distance to get it.But what Smith did not count on was IFED and the insurance industry working together to expose criminals who think insurance fraud is an easy way to boost their bank balance.