A 39-year-old man was sentenced on Friday 27 May for his part in an insurance fraud where an ice cream van was used to stage fake accidents across the country.
City of London Police said the van was identified as being linked to three separate fraudulent insurance claims which, had they been paid out in full, would have cost the insurers around £100,000.
Barry Mark Sandmann, 39, of Brompton Lane, Strood, Kent pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey on Friday 29 April to conspiracy to defraud and fraud by false representation.
He was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment (suspended for two years), ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work and to pay a £200 victim surcharge and given a 12 month supervision requirement.
As previously reported by Insurance Age, Sandmann lied about being involved in an accident with an ice cream van in Kent to allow others to make fraudulent claims.
His story was proved false by the driver of the other vehicle and Allianz referred the case to IFED.
When the van was inspected in Leicester, where it had been moved and stored it was recognised by specialists who had inspected it in relation to another claim, which had been paid out by NFU Mutual.
Detective Constable Paula Doyle, from the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED), who investigated the case said: “In the space of two months, Sandmann not only tried to take out a policy to cover him for an accident that had already happened, but then tried to facilitate a crash for cash scam so that others could profit.
“We’re still keen to hear from anyone who may have seen the ice cream van involved, or knows who owns it, as there are others involved in setting up this scam that we have not been able to identify.”
She continued: “Thanks to the good relationships and information sharing between IFED and the insurance industry, what first appeared to be an isolated incident has been uncovered as an organised scam and we’re determined to try and identify and bring all those involved to justice.”
After an alert by IFED was issued to the insurance industry about the scam, a further case involving the same ice cream van came to light. This time the claim was dealt with by Covéa.
Mihir Pandya, fraud manager at Allianz, said: “The courts must support the insurance industry by handing down tough sentences to help the industry win the battle against the fraudsters, so we are disappointed that Mr Sandmann was treated so leniently.
“The criminal minority must be left in do doubt that cheating on insurance is a serious crime and not a victimless opportunity to make some money. Insurance cheats also need to be aware that they can face other serious consequences for their actions including finding a job as well as getting a mortgage and other loans.”