Sixteen people including members of an organised criminal group from Luton and a 37-year-old man from Wellingborough have been sentenced for their roles in a cash-for-crash scam linked to nearly 80 collisions.
Rabia Miah, of Fosse Close in Wellingborough, was sentenced to two years in prison suspended for 18 months for conspiracy to commit fraud and six months in prison suspended for 18 months for conspiracy to drive dangerously to be served consecutively as well as 200 hours community service
The group sentencing follows a collaborative investigation between the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), the Eastern Regional Special Operations Unit (ERSOU), City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) and the insurance industry, which uncovered Luton man Raja Mehmood as the ringleader of the £1.2m scam.
Stephen Dalton, IFB’s head of intelligence, said: "We would like to thank ERSOU for bringing vital information to the IFB, by working closely together we’ve been able to disrupt this notorious criminal gang in the Luton area.
"Mehmood was the ringleader at the centre of the gang who plagued Luton’s roads before fleeing the country, instead of owning up to his crimes, leaving his other gang members to take the fall.
"His manipulative nature also meant he didn’t think twice before taking advantage of his business connections in order to expand his scam and maximise his profits."
As part of the crash-for-cash scam, Mehmood would embroil innocent people in the criminal activity by arranging business meetings with unsuspecting victims and then fraudulently using their details to take out insurance policies on vehicles that would later be involved in collisions.
The investigation revealed that Mehmood had been carrying out these crimes for a number of years and would also involve family members and associates as part of the fraud.
The collisions would either be staged by damaging the vehicles off the road or by slamming on the brakes on public roads, putting lives at risk.
Mehmood and his accomplices would then make exaggerated claims for vehicle damage and personal injury, such as whiplash, to make money.
While Mehmood initially fled the country, ERSOU persevered with the case and in August 2017 arrested him at the airport as he returned to the UK.
In January 2018, Mehmood pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and conspiracy to commit dangerous driving.
After a three-day hearing at St Albans Crown Court that concluded on January 7, Mehmood and his guilty accomplices received the following sentences:
> Raja Mehmood, 35 of Sherd Close, Luton, jailed for six years
> Stephen Seaton, 47, of Pastures Way, Luton, jailed for four years and nine months
> Mita Mistry, 37, of Newnham Way, Harrow, jailed for three years
> Naveed Khan, 22, of Roman Road, Luton, jailed for three years and two months
> Nadeem Khan, 24, also of Roman Road, jailed for four-and-a-half years
> Ataf Hussain, 44, also of Roman Road, jailed for four years
> Selhma Hussain, of Evelyn Avenue, London, jailed for three years and six months
> Matthew Warr, 44, of Hillside Avenue, Borehamwood, jailed for four years
> Ajvinder Panesar, 37, of Albany Road, Tilbury; Suckbiar Bachra, 43, of Charlotte Avenue, Hitchin; Ravinder Singh, 34, of Russell Street, Luton; Misba Illyas, 32, of Booker Place, High Wycombe; and Wellingborough's Miah were all given suspended sentences and community service hours
> Renu Begum, 37, Salina Nagra, 28, of King Edward Drive, Grays, and Maninder Grewal, 28, of Park View Gardens, Essex were handed community service hours