Unemployed man lied to gain larger insurance pay-out

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A man who made a fraudulent insurance claim has been ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.

57-year-old Paul Self, of Aspley Guise, was sentenced on August 26 at Milton Keynes Magistrates’ Court to 150 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £860 in costs after he was found guilty of fraud by false representation.

The conviction came about after Self submitted a fraudulent loss of income insurance claim for £7,250 following a car crash, when he was actually unemployed at the time.

On October 17, 2014, Self was involved in a collision on Newport Pagnell High Street with another driver. The accident was genuine, with the other driver admitting blame.

In February 2015, the other driver’s insurance firm received a claim from Self’s solicitors totalling £11,261 – of which £7,250 was being claimed for lost income as a result of the collision and the rest for personal injury sustained.

The firm became suspicious of the claim for the loss of income when medical certificates with details of his injuries from the crash showed his occupation as being unemployed – contradicting Self’s claim he was a painter and decorator.

Self was claiming to have been unable to complete decorating work for a local Indian restaurant and provided a quote and a letter from the restaurant to confirm he was due to carry out the renovations, until the injuries from the accident prevented him from doing so.

However, investigators discovered that the restaurant had only just been refurbished in April 2014. Articles relating to the restaurant’s ‘grand re-opening’ were available online, with the event being attended by local officials. The insurance firm, suspecting that Self’s claim was fraudulent, referred the case to the City of London’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED).

Officers confirmed with the restaurant’s management that there were never any plans to redecorate as Self claimed, and that they never requested a quote from Self to do any work.

When presented with the letter that Self provided with his claim, they confirmed it had been forged and that the person named on the letter did not work at the restaurant.

Self was interviewed by police in November 2015, where he told officers that he was encouraged to submit the claim by solicitors. He told officers that he had made the quote up, but still denied that the claim was fraudulent and that he was planning to carry out the work for the restaurant.

Detective Constable Helen Shipston, from the City of London Police, who investigated the case, said: “There is a misconception that solicitors or claims management companies offering the promise of ‘no win, no fee’ claims, means that you can submit exaggerated or false claims to insurance companies without any risk.

“Fraud is a serious criminal offence and if you lie in order to make financial gain from a bogus insurance claim, then, like Paul Self, you could end up with a knock on the door from police and a criminal record.”