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Fraudster jailed for crash-for-cash scam

Lucy Collins
Thursday 22 October 2009 00:00 BST

A fraudster who staged almost 100 car accidents and used the insurance payouts to fund a glamorous lifestyle was jailed yesterday.

Mohammed Patel, 24, charged £500 to set up accidents which enabled fraudsters to claim an average of £17,000 from insurers. In total, the scams cost the insurance industry £1.6m. He staged at least 93 crashes, earning himself around £46,000, Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court heard.

Patel, from Bolton, 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.

Mr 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. In 2005 they began to suspect that the accidents were being staged, because of the number and similarities of every crash.

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