Following a five day trial in the High Court, Mr Justice Warby found that each Defendant was guilty of contempt. The claims involved three fictitious car crashes in September and November 2011, all of which happened in the same area in North London. The defendants each made a claim for damages which was supposed to have been caused by a driver insured by LV=. LV=’s investigations led them to believe the policies had been set up in fictitious names and the accidents had not taken place so declined the claims and made no offers to settle.
Un-deterred by LV=’s stance the Defendants all brought civil actions for personal injuries and other losses including claims for recovery and storage by Park View Claims, an accident management company used by all defendants and claims for credit hire from DSA Automotive. Had these claims been successful they were valued in the region of £350,000 with the inclusion of the claimant’s solicitor’s costs that were claimed against LV=. James Laughland from Temple Gardens Chambers acted on behalf of LV= and was instructed by Marsha Crossland at DWF.
Of the nine people that were given jail time, four were committed to prison with immediate effect for 16, 12, 9 and 4 months respectively. The remaining five passengers each received four month prison sentences, suspended for one year.
Mr Justice Warby, the presiding judge, confirmed when providing his judgement “I am left at the end of the hearing in no doubt that all the defendants told deliberate lies from the outset” “the crashes never happened. The defendants were not injured. The drivers’ cars were not recovered or stored nor did they take any vehicles on credit hire” so awarded LV= its costs of £81,000, with each of the Defendants ordered to pay £9,000 each.
Clare Lunn, LV= Fraud Director, said: “This is a great result for LV= and society. The gang all played their part in this crash for cash scam and worked together to stage several fictitious accidents. We’re pleased that custodial sentences were handed down today and hope these criminals serve as proof that fraud doesn’t pay. LV= takes this type of crime very seriously, we will investigate suspected fraud cases thoroughly and will not tolerate fraudulent activity; the sentences today reflect this.”
Marsha Crosland, Associate at DWF, added: “Despite the claims been exposed by LV= and DWF as fraudulent, these claimants continued to pursue their compensation claims until the first day of a 5 day trial in the County Court. Then when they were prosecuted by LV= for contempt of court, they still denied involvement in a fraud even throughout another 5 day trial- this time in the High Court . Fortunately the judge saw through their lies and handed down some significant sentences today. This is a victory for the honest motorist who has for too long suffered higher premiums as a result of fraudsters like these.”