Simon Read: Crooks hit more than premium costs
Saturday 24 October 2009
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
How couples can protect their financial interests when cohabiting
Four million signed up for company pension scheme following government’s auto-enrolment
Money alert: Overdrafts at HSBC and First Direct
How to protect your assets if the stock markets begin to head south again
Buyers beware of new-build home headaches
- 1 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 2 Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 3 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 4 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
iJobs Money & Business
£550 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Traded Credit Risk - Investmen...
£55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A financial software vendor at the forefro...
£600 per day: Harrington Starr: .NET Developer C#, WPF,BLL, MSMQ, SQL, GIT, SQ...
£65000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A financial software vendor at the forefro...
Day In a Page
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony