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June News Round-up

This month HM The Queen announces new measures against crash-for-cash claims, plus some serious jail time for those convicted of faking car hire invoices, property swindles and a fishy tale of VAT avoidance.

IFB Welcomes Government Whiplash Crackdown

Ben Fletcher, Director of the IFB, commented after the Queen’s Speech on June 21st 2017:

“This provides welcome confirmation that the Government is committed to the whiplash reforms, which will undoubtedly help to curb the compensation culture that blights the UK. The IFB, alongside its members and the Association of British Insurers, have championed reform to reduce excess money in the system, which is fuelling rogue claims management companies to farm claims on an industrial scale with unsolicited nuisance calls and texts.

“The IFB continues to manage a portfolio of 170+ investigations into organised fraud, with a financial exposure of hundreds of millions of pounds.”

UK’s Longest Criminal Trial – Jail for Couple

Edwin and Lorraine McLaren received 11 years and two and a half years respectively, as the longest criminal trial in UK history finally reached a conclusion.

The Guardian reports that the £1.7million fraudsters now face losing their lavish lifestyle of Dubai holidays and luxury cars, which was gained by persuading vulnerable – mainly older – people to sign away the title deeds to their homes, in return for quick cash.

Voter Fraud Endemic in NI – Says Former Chief Electoral Officer

The recent General Election saw a complaint in the Foyle constituency that voter impersonation had been used to give Sinn Fein an advantage. The Belfast Telegraph reports in some depth, with expert views from Northern Ireland’s former Chief Electoral Officer; http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/voting-fraud-in-northern-ireland-has-been-going-on-for-years-says-former-electoral-office-chief-35827669.html

The problem of voter fraud is UK-wide however and anyone who knows a name and address of any local resident, of the same gender, can easily present at a polling station, with no ID checks, and vote early in any election.

Revealed - Regional Fraud Hotspots

A Which? Magazine survey has revealed interesting regional variations in the types of cons being pulled, reports the BBC; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-40272732

As you would expect London is the capital for overall frauds, but Warwickshire is the leader for internet shopping problems, whilst Norfolk is a hotbed of online dating fraud. Those living in sleepy Dorset are more prone to malware or spyware viruses.

Fishy Tale of VAT Invoice Fakery

John Fleming, boss of ICS Fisheries conned some £489,000 out of HMRC by faking VAT invoices. The old tactic of reclaiming fictitious VAT worked well for some six years, but Fleming got greedy, finally sparking an investigation, which reeled him in.

Incredibly he has repaid all but £93,000 of the cash, which suggests he must be a canny investor, or perhaps he lives on sardines? Fife Today reports that Fleming will be sentenced next month. http://www.fifetoday.co.uk/news/crime/fisheries-boss-fabricated-invoices-in-500k-fraud-1-4474593

Bradford Legal Firm Partners Jailed

After a lengthy trial Mohammed Ayub and Mohammed Riaz (who are brothers, despite using different surnames) of Chambers Solicitors, have both been jailed for their part in swindling the taxpayer out of thousands of pounds, running a fake translation service agency.

Nobody can establish the exact amount swindled, but the Police estimated it to be between £200,000-£600,000, according to the Yorkshire Post and Bradford T&A newspapers.

Chambers has a controversial history, representing George Galloway in his defamation suits against Twitter users, plus sponsoring Galloway back in 2012 when he ran for London Mayor. Former MP Louise Mensch made a complaint to the Police alleging that confidential case information was disclosed by another solicitor working for Chambers in 2013, but the CPS declined to take action and the solicitor involved was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Conveyancer Swindles Half a Million by Changing Her Name

A conveyancer managed to steal around 500K from three legal firms, just by using the simple tactic of changing her name by deed poll, reports Legal Futures. Ms Oonagh Grant became Frances Grant, after being caught for fraud in 2011. After serving a suspended sentence she found work easily and began filching cash once again, taking a South London firm for £28,000.

This was chickenfeed to Grant, and after being rumbled, she moved to Bromley, where she found another law firm and stole £224,000. Finally, after getting away with over £536,000, from three separate companies, she was sentenced to five years in prison.

Black Box Catches Out Crash-For-Cash Trio

Three men were found guilty of fraud at Bradford Crown Court, after being caught faking a motoring accident. Shazad Siddique and two accomplices attempted to swindle £36,000 from Insure The Box. The alleged accident supposedly took place at a junction in Bradford, but the telmatics pinpointed the location to an industrial estate, plus the vehicle speeds were exceptionally low.

Two men involved were both given 20 months jail time, while a third man was awarded 200 hours Community Service, reports InsuranceBusinessMag;

http://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/uk/news/breaking-news/three-sentenced-after-fake-car-crash-insurance-claim-69051.aspx