A press release issued earlier this month by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) reports the case of a claims manager sentenced to five years’ imprisonment at Bradford Crown Court. The jail sentence is the culmination of a joint initiative between the IFB and West Yorkshire Police codenamed Operation Keep. The proprietor of Autotransform Claims from Keighley West Yorkshire, his partner, an engineer and two claimants received a total of seven years three months imprisonment for defrauding insurance companies. West Yorkshire Police and the IFB launched an investigation in February 2007 after the latter identified suspicious claims being submitted to multiple insurers from the accident management company. Dawn raids in Keighley led to 22 arrests for conspiracy to defraud insurance companies. Fraudulent claims, false repairs and replacement hire cars were uncovered using sophisticated analytical tools and detailed forensic examinations. IFB Chairman John Beadle, Chairman commmented: “There is growing evidence to show that the proceeds from this type of fraud are used to fund other forms of serious crime including drugs trafficking and gun running.
The power of the IFB acting as a collective to represent the industry with law enforcement is demonstrating real results. We are seeing a growing appetite across regional police forces to work with the Bureau to pursue the fraudsters targeting our industry. The members of the IFB are determined to protect honest policy holders” Detective Sergeant Ben McDonald of Airedale and North Bradford CID, added: “This was an extremely complex and detailed investigation, one of the first of its kind for West Yorkshire involving officers from West Yorkshire Police, the Insurance Fraud Bureau, and the Ministry of Justice. We are pleased with the sentences today which send out a message that the activities of organised criminal gangs will not be tolerated in Keighley or anywhere else in Airedale and North Bradford. Members of the gang ring were involved in fraud on an industrial scale and this has been recognised in the sentences. Those who are tempted to engage in insurance fraud such as this should be warned that we will take robust action to find and prosecute them.”