- Claims made over three years from ‘out of the way’ HQ
The crime syndicate claimed for the fake crashes for almost three years from their headquarters in Tottenham, north London, it is alleged.
Rosul Yusuf, 33, Shalim Miah, 29, Halimur Rashid, 28, and Noveed Akhtar, 39, claimed Â£1.17m from insurance companies between November 2005 and October 2008, Southwark Crown Court was told.
‘Syndicate’: (from left) Halimur Rashid, Rosul Yusuf and Shalim Miah leaving Southwark Crown Court
The scam was masterminded by architectural technology student, Samsul Haque, 26, who was ‘up to his ears in motor insurance fraud’, according to prosecutor David Aaronberg QC.
Haque, who allegedly ran the scamÂ from the ‘out of the way’ base of accident management company Motor Alliance in Ashley Road, has admitted conspiracy to defraud, the court was told.
A further Â£427,000-worth of claims were said to have been made and rejected.
Noveed Akhtar is the fourth defendant in court over the alleged fake insurance claims
Mr Aaronberg said the fake accidents usually involved expensive cars – including Mercedes, Jaguars and BMWs – being hit by ‘old bangers’.
The claim would then be made on the insurance belonging to the driver of the cheaper vehicle.
The gang frequently said the driver of the pricey car would need a like-for-like replacement that cost hundreds of pounds a day to hire, the court heard.
Insurance companies would also have to pay for non-existent towing fees and storage.
Haque was making fraudulent claims through several bogus ‘accident management companies’, the prosecution said.
‘The men in the dock were involved in claims relating to staged or fake accidents – accidents that never happened at all,’ said Mr Aaronberg.
‘They were involved, some of them at least, in charging for services that were never actually provided… all of them costing the insurance companies and ultimately you and I, because if they had to pay out if they were deceived our premiums had to go up.’
The court was told that the defendants were also involved with two similar firms – Prestige Auto Group, which later became Diamond Auto Group – both based in Walthamstow, north London.
Mr Aaronberg said: ‘They’re not individuals who on a single occasion made single false claims – each of the men in the dock agreed to play a part in one or more business.
‘The reason we suggest the office was chosen where it was and not signed is because it was used as a major base for the carrying out of a fraud.
‘Most of the fraudulent insurance claims seem to have come out of the premises in Tottenham.’
‘Mastermind’: Samsul Haque, who has admitted conspiracy to defraud, was the ringleader of the gang, the court was told
The court heard that police raided the Tottenham property on October 15, 2008, after insurance companies expressed suspicion over some of the claims made by Motor Alliance.
Officers found 64 files relating to insurance claims in the boot of a silver Mercedes, and identified 123 fake claims.
Mr Aaronberg added: ‘Motor Alliance obtained copies of driving licences and used the details of these licences to claim falsely that the licence-holder had been involved in a collision, usually as an innocent third party.
‘It is a pretty constant theme that almost all of the vehicles hit were high-value cars, because there’s more money to be made out of claiming there’s been an accident with a high-value car.
‘Motor Alliance purported to act in all of the claims for the third party drivers.
‘It contacts the at-fault policy holder’s insurance company and says it is acting for the third party whose car was damaged in a collision with your policy holder.
‘They say they are going to send documents that have been signed by the third party giving authority to Motor Alliance to act on their behalf and for the payments to go to them and not the third party.’
Yusuf and Rashid, both from Ilford, Essex, both deny conspiracy to defraud, as do their fellow defendants Miah, of Pimlico in central London, and Akhtar, of Leyton, east London.