DAC Beachcroft's Counter Fraud Team Secures Prison Sentence for Fraudster - DAC Beachcroft

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DAC Beachcroft's Counter Fraud Team Secures Prison Sentence for Fraudster

Published 19 February 2018

A whiplash fraudster, who deliberately slammed on his brakes to cause a motor accident, has received an immediate two-month prison sentence and been ordered to pay £14,000 in costs by the courts. Evidence obtained from the defendant driver by the Counter Fraud team at international law firm DAC Beachcroft, on behalf of insurer client, Churchill Insurance, proved the fraudster had been lying.

At the criminal trial, the judge acknowledged that he would have given Shahid Hussain an immediate prison sentence of 12 months had he contested the allegations against him and been found guilty. His sentence was reduced as he pleaded guilty to eight of the 16 false statements made to the court but this was sufficient to result in an immediate prison sentence.

Jemma Lewis, Counter Fraud partner at DAC Beachcroft, praised Churchill Insurance for pursuing a criminal sanction against Mr Hussain. "Although the sentence was short, the judge felt the fraud was sufficiently serious that Mr Hussain went straight to prison, sending a clear message that there are serious consequences for those who commit fraud.

"DAC Beachcroft has secured a number of custodial sentences in the last 12 months, with judges moving away from suspended sentences and ensuring that fraudsters actually spend time behind bars," she said.

Mr Hussain had claimed whiplash injuries and significant vehicle hire and repair costs after alleging that a Churchill Insurance policyholder had driven into him as he drove along a slip road to join the A500 near Stoke-on-Trent in 2013. Three passengers, allegedly travelling in Mr Hussain's car at the time of the accident, had also claimed for whiplash injuries. In his evidence, the defendant driver stated there had been no reason for Mr Hussain to brake suddenly in front of him, as there had been no traffic preventing him from merging safely onto the A500 from the slip road.

At the hearing of the civil claim for damages, the evidence Mr Hussain gave in court was so contradictory and unsatisfactory that he asked to withdraw his claim. The judge allowed him to do so only on the basis he should pay all the costs of the claim, as his claim had been fundamentally dishonest.

"This was a deliberate 'slam-on' accident by a claimant, who had then hoped to claim damages, fraudulently," Jemma Lewis added. "It is excellent that the judge saw through Mr Hussain's attempt to defraud Churchill Insurance."

Mark Chiappino, Counter Fraud Manager at Churchill Insurance commented: "Once again, people attempting to defraud Churchill Insurance should know that we will use the full weight of the law against them in our fight to protect our innocent customers. The fraudster’s claim was valued in excess of £30,000 and insurance fraud is estimated to add at least £50 to the average household insurance bill, so we will continue to fight the fraudsters with our experienced counter fraud teams." 

Chiappino continued: “The actions of this individual were not only dishonest but also dangerous to himself and other road users. If people feel they have been the victim of a deliberate attempt to create an accident, they should notify their insurers of their concerns immediately, take photographs if safe to do so, and obtain witness details at the scene."

Liam Murdin of St John's Buildings represented the defendant, Churchill Insurance, on the instruction of DAC Beachcroft. He noted: “It is important for claimants and their representatives to realise that, in circumstances where they are found to have misled the court, judges regard that fraud as a very serious matter. There have been several recently-reported cases of claimants being sentenced to immediate terms of custody, and judges are becoming ever more willing to impose immediate terms of custody, where fundamental dishonesty is held to have occurred.”

Authors

Catherine Burt

Catherine Burt

Newcastle

+44 (0)191 404 4042

Jemma Lewis

Jemma Lewis

Birmingham

+44 (0)121 698 5387