Simon Read: Crooks hit more than premium costs - Spend & Save - Money - The Independent

Simon Read: Crooks hit more than premium costs

Crashing for cash is a crime that costs each British driver around £40 a year through increased premiums on their motor insurance. Yet, as we reported earlier this month, more than a million motorists have thought about staging a motor accident in order to make a claim on their insurance. More shockingly some 340,000 say they having already successfully done so.

I hope that the news this week that a serial crasher – or fraudster as he should be better described – has been jailed for four-and-a-half years makes people think again about operating the scam. It's not just the cost to everyone else that I object to, but the fact that for the scam to work, an innocent victim has to be duped. And often the victims suffer far worse than simply losing their no-claims bonus.

The crook jailed this week was Mohammed Patel, pictured, a 24-year-old Manchester man. Amazingly for one so relatively young, he clocked up nearly 100 staged car crashes, duping his victims and the insurance industry out of a whopping £1.6m. Patel is believed to have charged just £500 a time to crash his clients' cars and apparently had a queue of people lining up to use his unsavoury services.

His method was simple. He would drive in front of innocent motorists and then brake hard, forcing them to crash into the back of his vehicle. He would then claim to be the victim with innocent drivers shaken up by the smash seemingly all too willing to believe him. He was only caught it seems because he had a favourite smash zone – at a roundabout in front of an office building in Cheadle Hulme, Greater Manchester. Office workers noticed the number of accidents and informed police who quickly brought the odious fraudster to justice.

As anyone who has ever been involved in a crash – even a simple bump – will know, the shock can be long-lasting, even leading to the need for counselling in some cases. So while Patel and his crooked cronies were staging their money-making stunts, their victims were, you could say, being mentally and physically assaulted. Against that human cost, the £1.6m swindle counts for nothing and anyone contemplating a similar scam should consider the horror they could be bringing into someone else's life.

*The energy price wars are continuing apace with OVO Energy launching a market-beating energy plan on Thursday. It replaced First:Utility as the cheapest supplier and meant, for the first time, the two cheapest players in the market are both outside the big six. That should be a wake-up call for the big suppliers which appear to have been keeping prices high, despite plummeting wholesale costs.

But there's a greater energy battle going on which needs to be sorted as a matter of urgency. One in four families are struggling to afford heat and power, which means the Government is failing in its battle against "fuel poverty". The number of households where at least 10 per cent of income is spent on gas and electricity is expected to climb to 6.6 million this year. That's a statistic which shames the nation.

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £280 - £320 p/d - 6 months

    £280 - £320 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

    Senior BA - Insurance **URGENT**

    £400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

    Training Coordinator / Resource Planner - City, London

    £35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Coordinator / Pl...

    Data Governance Manager (Solvency II) – Contract – Up to £450 daily rate, 6 month (may go Permanent)

    £400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently looking...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week