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Published 27 October 2017
Fraudsters seeking whiplash damages after they deliberately induced an Insure The Box policyholder to drive into the rear of their car have been caught out after taking part in an identity parade, organised by the Counter Fraud team at international law firm DAC Beachcroft.
At issue was the driver's identity. Nsaten Mey, who was in his fifties, alleged he had been the driver, with fellow claimants Pedro Marcelo, his son-in-law, and Iboto Mey, his daughter, travelling as passengers. Mey claimed he had braked to allow the vehicle ahead of him to turn left and the 17-year-old defendant had then driven into the back of them.
But the defendant's mother, who happened to live very close by, had arrived at the accident scene so quickly that she witnessed all the occupants of the claimant vehicle. She said the driver was a man in his twenties and that his two passengers were also in their twenties, one of whom smoked.
To resolve the identity question, Insure The Box suggested bringing all the parties together. The Counter Fraud team at international law firm DAC Beachcroft then took the innovative next step of setting up an identity parade. This confirmed that Marcelo had been the driver while Mey, who was a lifelong non-smoker, and his daughter, Iboto, had not even been in the car.
"We suspected that one of the alleged passengers had been the driver, so arranging the identity parade was crucial to prove the driver's identity," explained Catherine Burt, Head of Counter Fraud at DAC Beachcroft. "It was a highly novel approach, but gave us the certainty we needed. Induced accidents and occupancy issues tend to go hand in hand and identity documentation is often of poor quality and difficult to review."
Despite this evidence of the driver's and passengers' identities, the claims went to trial. In court, the claimants were supported by two other members of their family, Mey's wife and another of his daughters, who lied in an attempt to bolster the claimants' story. The claimants were found to have been fundamentally dishonest and ordered to pay over £20,000 in costs.
"Having identified who was in the car at the time, it was staggering that the claimants' solicitors continued to take the claims to trial," Burt continued.
Simon Rewell, Group Head of Financial Crime at Insure The Box, added: "These fraudsters deliberately set out to target a young female driver in an attempt to defraud Insure The Box of thousands of pounds in damages. The identity parade, which DAC Beachcroft's Counter Fraud team arranged, was an inspired solution for solving the identity issue and gave us the necessary proof to reject the claims and then successfully defend them at trial."