Mark McCrackenImage copyrightCUMBRIA POLICE
McCracken made 27 bogus insurance claims over four years
Carlisle Crown Court heard the scam saw insurance claims made for injuries and damaged cars that were involved in staged crashes at accident blackspots.
In one bogus claim, mastermind Mark McCracken, pretended to be a woman victim in a call to an insurance firm.
He admitted 13 charges of fraud and one of using false documents and jailed for seven years.
Eight other people were jailed for between 36 weeks and two years for fraud and money laundering. A further 22 people were handed suspended jail terms.
Police found identity packs for each fake insurance claim
The scam was valued at more than £600,000, the court heard, and included claims following 27 bogus road traffic collisions between 2010 and 2014.
Police found identity packs at a family address of McCracken, which contained fake driving licences, bank books in false names and memory aids on post-it notes for each invented person.
Police were tipped off after the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) became suspicious of some of McCracken’s claims that were not reported to the emergency services.
Others jailed for their part in the scam:
Stuart Bell, from Wigton – jailed for two years
Richard Miller, from Wigton – jailed for 18 months
Duncan Pape, from Carlisle – jailed for 15 months
Craig Palmer, from Carlisle – jailed for 15 months
Michelle Lockhart, from Wigton – jailed for 12 months
Jonathan Scott, from Wigton – jailed for 9 months
Darren Snowdon, from Carlisle – jailed for four months
Stuart Wise, from Carlisle – jailed for 36 weeks
The claims, which ranged in value, were made against various insurance companies for personal injury, vehicle damage, recovery storage and hire car costs. The claims were made against other drivers’ insurance and were all made by false identities.
Judge Peter Davies described the scam as “simple in its conception, but sophisticated and elaborate in its management and organisation”.
One of the clocked cars used in the scam
After the hearing a Cumbria Police spokesman said: “Not only has McCracken gone to great lengths to launder money and commit serial fraud, his confidence in his own criminality grew to the extent he was claiming collisions occurred on the same day he opened insurance contracts.
“This should serve as a warning to others thinking of doing similar that there are serious consequences to making false insurance claims. Crash-for-cash scams will be investigated and those involved could end up with a criminal conviction. In addition we will seek to remove assets from those we identify as having profited.”
Ben Fletcher, director of the IFB, added: “The sentences handed down send a clear message that prosecution is a very real consequence for people committing insurance fraud.”
Article care of the BBC news site and can be found here