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'Cash for crash' sting nets three key players


Three key 'crash for cash' fraudsters have been charged following a major 10-month investigation by ...

Three key 'crash for cash' fraudsters have been charged following a major 10-month investigation by police and the Insurance Fraud Bureau.

During its inquiry, Operation Pelican, West Yorkshire police arrested 22 suspects and investigated alleged false motor accident claims worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

IFB chairman John Beadle said the charging of the three individuals, including a motor trade employee, sends a strong message to criminals that the insurance industry is "no longer an easy target" and fraudsters "will be caught".

A 57-year-old man from Huddersfield, and a 37-year-old man and 36-year-old woman from Keighley have all been charged with conspiracy to defraud insurance companies.

Additionally, the 57-year-old, who is a self-employed vehicle examiner, has been charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, as has the 37-year-old man who has also been charged with intimidating witnesses.

All three are to appear at Bingley Magistrates Court today (13 March 2008). A further 16 people have received police cautions for minor fraud offences and three individuals have been eliminated from inquiries.

Mr Beadle said he was delighted that months of hard work by police and the IFB had come to fruition.

"The people that have been charged are the key players - the main conspirators," he added.

He said: "In the past the insurance industry has been seen as an easy target. Now, following the formation of the IFB, these misconceptions are changing.

"The message to fraudsters is that we will catch you and it is likely that you will get prosecuted in court," he added.

Detective Inspector John Mountain of West Yorkshire police, said: "Innocent policyholders are paying for this kind of crime. Fraud increases the average premium by 5%, or around £40.

"We will continue to work closely with the IFB and take a robust stance in targeting and disrupting the criminal gangs preying on innocent motorists and the insurance industry."

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