A speeding fine uncovers a major fraud racket, and metadata contained in a photo puts a spanner in the works for a claim for stolen tools.
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Insurance fraud has reached epidemic levels in the UK.
It's costing us more than £1.3 billion every year.
That's almost 3.6 million every day.
Deliberate crashes, bogus personal injuries, even phantom pets.
The fraudsters are risking more and more to make a quick killing,
and every year, it's adding around £50 to your insurance bill.
But insurers are fighting back,
exposing just under 15 fake claims every hour.
Armed with covert surveillance systems...
That's the subject out the vehicle.
..sophisticated data analysis techniques...
-..and a number of highly skilled police units...
Police! Don't move, stay where you are.
-..they're catching the criminals red-handed.
-Just don't lie to us.
All those con-men, scammers, and cheats on the fiddle
are now caught in the act, and claimed and shamed.
A simple speeding ticket leads to the bust of
a sophisticated fraud operation...
The scale of the fraud was massive.
..a DIY enthusiast who attempted to defraud
his insurance sees his claim come crumbling down.
Not only would we have to cancel the policy,
but we'd also have to seek the money back,
for the sums that we paid for the replacement of the items.
..and a gamble that a betting shop wasn't fitted with CCTV
doesn't pay out.
When dealing with large scale frauds,
sometimes it's the smallest mistake that cracks the case wide open.
In this case, a simple speed camera fine led to
a fraud that was worth almost a quarter of a million pounds.
If a motorist is caught speeding on camera,
it's a straightforward process.
A form is sent out to the registered owner of the car, and they're
asked to fill in the details of who was driving at the time.
That person then receives an appropriate penalty.
Some try and cheat the system by entering false details.
However, officers like PC Graham Radcliffe of the
Greater Manchester Police are there to catch them.
The case first came to light when a Mercedes car activated two
speed cameras, one in Manchester, and one in the Midlands.
Information was sent to the owner of the Mercedes to find out
who was driving the car when it was caught speeding.
The forms were returned to the police,
saying that a woman had been behind the wheel.
That woman was subsequently convicted.
But there was a twist - she'd NEVER been in the car.
She wasn't aware of the fact that she'd been nominated in the
first place, and it was as a result of her subsequently complaining
the fact that she'd been wrongly convicted that my inquiry began.
Little did he know where it would lead,
or what he was about to uncover.
Graham established that the woman was indeed telling the truth.
She had nothing to do with the speeding Mercedes.
Complex investigations into how this woman's name had wrongly ended up
on the form led Graham to an accident management company,
called Optimum Claim Solutions,
owned by a man called Jason Brown.
The company did have some legitimate business,
but Graham was quickly able to establish that Brown was
involved in some very dubious activities indeed.
He'd found that he could make more money out of falsely creating
accidents and making claims,
particularly very high credit hire claims for hire cars,
for accidents that never existed, and personal injury claims.
So, Brown was using his accident management company illegally
in two distinct ways.
Firstly, he'd make up totally imaginary accidents and claim
that passengers had been injured in order to get pay-outs
from insurance companies.
He'd also tell insurers that he'd provided very expensive hire cars
for people waiting for their crashed cars to be fixed.
Again, the accidents would be totally fictitious.
Graham arrested Jason Brown,
and both his home and business premises were thoroughly searched.
What was uncovered was clearly a large scale fraud in relation
to false credit hire claims to insurance companies
following accidents, accidents which never happened.
Graham worked closely with those companies
who had been targeted by Brown.
One of them was insurance providers Allianz.
Mihir Pandya heads up their fraud department.
As it turned out, Jason Brown was already on their radar.
His vehicle had allegedly been involved in an accident
resulting in multiple whiplash claims.
The total value of the claims submitted to us was in
the region of £30,000.
A significant sum, and not something that would be paid out
no questions asked.
When we receive claims of this kind, it's routine to do some enquiries.
Almost immediately, they discovered fundamental problems.
So many discrepancies.
Some of the people were getting...
Which car they were in, they were getting that wrong.
They were using old addresses for Jason Brown when they were
asked to say what details they'd just swapped.
It even transpired that another car - the premium for that
insurance was paid by Jason Brown himself.
The multiple inconsistencies and the apparent links back to Brown
called the whole claim into question.
We started to have suspicions that this, in fact,
was a staged motor accident, so we contacted Mr Brown.
He ignored our letters. We tried to call him, he ignored our calls.
After a few months,
all the claims for the whiplash injuries were dropped.
Thought that was the end of the matter,
and it was a year later when Greater Manchester Police contacted us.
Still to come -
the police uncover yet more of Brown's insurance fraud shenanigans.
He's just become over-confident with the fact that
he can get away with it, but didn't think it through properly.
Now, when you pop down to the shops, the last thing on your mind
is getting hurt, but accidents can and do happen anywhere.
Most shops make sure they have insurance,
so if someone is injured on their premises,
and it's in some way deemed to be the shop's fault,
then the injured person can be properly compensated,
and the pay-outs can be quite hefty.
Royal Sun Alliance provides insurance for many retailers,
and it's John Beadle's job to make sure that, when someone makes
a claim against one of his clients, it's 100% legit.
It's not unusual for people to put in spurious claims alleging
that they'd suffered injury in premises such as supermarkets,
and numerous other locations,
but all these premises are routinely covered by CCTV,
and it is amazing, really,
that people still attempt to make these kind of allegations,
which are clearly refuted by a simple review of the CCTV footage.
So, when you're out doing your shopping,
never forget Big Brother is watching you.
Back in 2015, one of John Beadle's team members received
a call from a man who had fallen over in a shop that RSA cover.
So, in this particular case,
the allegation was that they'd entered a betting shop,
from a well-known high street chain,
and had slipped on a wet floor, causing injury.
It was slightly unbelievable, but not impossible.
I guess somebody could have spilled a drink,
or it might have been raining outside
but, of course, the first thing we would do in such circumstances
would be to review the CCTV.
Unbeknownst to the claimant,
the betting shop was covered by CCTV cameras.
And from the moment they reviewed the footage,
the odds were firmly stacked against this particular gambler.
You see, they didn't slip on the wet floor at all.
It was a mistake by the person in sitting down on his stool,
which caused him to fall.
The gentleman just puts the stool too far in,
and when he goes to sit down, he actually falls off the back of it.
The claimant clearly hadn't known that he was being watched
by security cameras, and this was his major slip-up.
Frankly, when we first got this claim,
we couldn't believe that the person was making it,
because it's quite clear what the cause of the accident was,
and it was nobody's fault but his own.
When confronted with the evidence, the claimant understood that,
like him, the story just didn't stand up.
We told him that, as a result of this investigation,
we would not be paying this claim,
and he clearly must have thought twice about it,
and the claim went away.
John's investigations had put a stop to RSA having to pay out
compensation of around £6,000 for this clearly dishonest claim.
Insurers are wise to this type of spurious claim.
We will investigate each and every case fully.
There is no quick pot of gold available here.
My advice to people is - don't do this, you will get caught,
and there can be severe penalties if you are found guilty of fraud.
Earlier on, we examined a case where a simple speed camera investigation
led to the exposure of professional insurance fraudster, Jason Brown.
Brown owned a claims management company,
called Optimum Claim Solutions,
that was proving to be involved in an array of fraudulent scams,
including claims for accidents that were totally imaginary.
Things weren't looking good for Brown.
He was already in custody at Greater Manchester Police,
when his solicitor turned up with arms full of evidence
he thought would help the case.
A bundle of files were left at the front desk.
Because these files were left, I looked at them.
And Graham didn't like what he saw.
One of the cases involved in this fraud was this same Mercedes
that had activated these speed cameras.
This car had allegedly been involved in a collision, in Failsworth,
what we call a three-car shunt, and the Mercedes was the fault car.
And the person recorded as being the driver of the Mercedes at
that time was the registered keeper.
I knew, because I'd previously interviewed him,
that he'd never had possession of that car, so straightaway,
this accident was likely to be a fraudulent one.
Another red flag was the high occupancy rate of the vehicles,
in particular the first car, which was a people carrier.
It's supposed to have had seven people in it, and I think
there were seven claimants to the insurance company for
personal injuries in relation to that vehicle.
And there were another two personal injury claims
from the middle vehicle.
The more claims, the bigger the pay-out.
As if this wasn't enough to discredit the claim,
there was a final nail in the coffin.
As it transpired in the inquiry,
all three of those vehicles were insured by Jason Brown.
Well, the whole job was clearly fraudulent.
The three-car collision in Failsworth was another
made-up accident, and, of course,
the seven people claiming to be injured were full of lies, too.
But it was just the tip of the iceberg.
Graham recovered another 400 files from
a residential address linked to Brown.
The scale of the fraud was massive.
Another scam that Brown was pulling
off was duping multiple insurers
into paying for the same hire car to act as a replacement vehicle.
One car appeared on numerous claims.
That particular vehicle, on one occasion,
was allegedly out on hire to two people at the same time.
One of those, for the value,
or the value put in to the insurance company, was £40,000 plus.
The evidence was mounting substantially against
Jason Brown, when Graham's investigations uncovered
yet another accident that looked likely to be fictitious,
this time involving two cars.
One of the drivers was a man called Billy Barnett, who had also
featured as a passenger in the previous Failsworth collision.
Billy Barnett was Jason Brown's step-son.
Graham managed to get hold of the original phone call between
Billy Barnett and the insurance company.
The most striking thing about the phone call
is that it's not actually Barnett.
It's Brown, pretending to be Barnett.
My feelings are that he's just become over-confident
with the fact that he can get away with it,
so I think he felt brave in making this telephone conversation,
and felt he could ad lib his way through it,
but didn't think it through properly.
Brown's arrogance also extended to the methods
he used to recruit people to take part in his scam,
revealed when Graham interviewed the alleged injured passengers.
The majority said that they were recruited whilst they were
out drinking in a pub, or stopped on the street.
What they were saying is, yeah, they did commit the fraud,
but they were recruited for it actively.
The person doing the recruiting was Jason Brown.
In the space of 12 months, Graham's work had mushroomed from
a case of speeding fines into fraud on an exceptional scale.
During the course of this investigation,
I arrested 24 suspects.
There were 154 statements taken, and around 1,000 exhibits.
The ringleader, Jason Brown,
and others who had played an active part, were brought to justice.
There was no arguing with the evidence against them.
Everybody that was charged with the fraud-related offences
The judge came down hard on the ringleader of the £225,000 scam.
Jason Brown, the main man in the inquiry,
was sentenced to five years and two months.
And every penny he dishonestly made will have to be returned.
If he doesn't pay back the £200,000,
then that will ultimately result in him serving an extra term of
imprisonment, and the figure will remain with him for life.
It was a fitting end to Graham's 30-year police career.
He has since retired from the force.
It was ultimately going to be me last inquiry.
It didn't set out that way, when I first took the case,
because I didn't think it was going to turn into what it did turn into.
Were it not for the speed fines, Jason Brown might have got away with
his scam for longer, but he didn't count on the determination
of Graham and his team to bring him to justice.
The fact that it was my last job,
I am quite proud of it and the outcome,
specifically because I put so much into it.
Now, everything is bigger in the US, nowhere more than in Texas,
the Lone Star State.
For Texan fraudsters,
it's not enough to simply fake a personal injury.
They go further.
A few years ago, a tragic motor accident claimed the life of
Clayton Daniels, husband of Molly Daniels.
He died when his car burst into flames after leaving the road,
and plummeting down a cliff.
The fire was so intense
that Clayton's body was burned beyond recognition.
Molly and her two young children were left devastated.
Luckily, Clayton had taken out a 110,000 life insurance policy,
so Molly and the kids wouldn't have to struggle.
In fact, far from going to pieces,
Molly seemed to take the heartbreaking loss in her stride.
A Texas Ranger, who spoke to her, noted that she was strangely calm
throughout the interview,
and, only a few weeks later, it emerged that Molly
had embarked on a new relationship, with a man called Jake Gregg.
But the new life Molly had created was a fiction,
and the whole thing was about to crash and burn.
Right from the start, there had been question marks about the accident.
No skid marks had been found on the road,
indicating that there had been no attempt to brake,
and the fire that destroyed the car had originated in the
driver's seat, not the fuel tank.
What's more, it had been accelerated by lighter fluid.
But what really brought the insurance claim to
a dead halt was evidence from the body in the car.
Investigators took one DNA sample from the corpse,
and one from Clayton Daniels' mother.
There should have been a match, but when the results came back,
there was a shock in store.
The body wasn't Daniels'.
The police went back to search the new couple's home, and found a
forged birth certificate and a fake driver's licence under the name
Jacob Alexander Gregg.
So, who was Molly's new man?
Step forward...Clayton Daniels.
The fiery car accident had been staged to get an insurance pay-out.
Afterwards, Clayton had laid low,
and then re-emerged with a different hairdo and a new identity,
but that still left the question of the body in the car.
And here's where things took a much darker turn.
It turned out that Clayton had done the unthinkable -
he had dug up the grave of an 81-year-old woman,
called Charlotte Davis, who had been dead for six months.
He had then dressed her body in his clothes, placed her in the car,
set it alight, and then pushed it off the edge of the cliff.
When police investigated Clayton further,
it emerged that he was also wanted for skipping bail
after pleading guilty to other serious crimes.
Molly revealed her true colours
when she tried to explain why they targeted Charlotte.
According to her, "We felt, because she was older,
"there would not be much family impact, if any."
But the jury totally disagreed when the case went to trial.
They awarded Molly the maximum sentence for her crimes,
20 years behind bars.
Clayton also received 20 years for insurance fraud, 15 years for arson,
and ten for desecration of a cemetery, to be served concurrently.
Coming home to find out that you've been broken into
is always distressing.
It is a horrible feeling, knowing someone has been inside your house.
Taking out home insurance helps soften the blow,
in case of a theft,
and gives us the peace of mind that, if we're broken into,
we'll be reimbursed financially, or any stolen items replaced.
In October 2014, Lloyds Banking Group received a call from
a customer called Paul Monday,
who'd taken out contents insurance with them back in 2009.
Paul was calling to let them know about a burglary at his property.
David Berry, the technical fraud manager
at Lloyds Banking Group was involved with the case.
When we first had the claim presented to us
everything looked perfectly in order,
everything appeared to be genuinely stated, so to all intents
and purposes, nothing at all looked wrong with the claim.
So, basically, the sort of things you'd expect to find
in a garden shed.
However, there was one unusual item on the list of what was taken.
Fair enough, not an everyday piece of sports equipment,
but Paul Monday was claiming he had a monoski
nicked from the back of his shed.
Paul Monday was a happy customer.
All his stolen tools would be covered
and replaced with brand-new ones.
However a few weeks later the team informed him
that his monoski was not covered,
as it needed a specialist sporting equipment policy
and it was then that the tide started to turn.
Monday suddenly seemed to remember a further item that had been
stolen from his shed - a drill.
When we explained that we couldn't cover the monoski,
the customer asked us to consider the claim for the drill
and explained, when we asked him why he hadn't told us
about the drill previously, that he believed he'd already reached
the limit of cover when actually he hadn't.
It seemed plausible enough so the team asked Monday whether
he had anything to prove his ownership of the drill
and he responded by supplying a photo.
But suspicions had been roused
and the team bored down into the detail of the image of the drill.
EXIF data or property data held on digital images
is very simple to access.
You click on the properties of the digital image and it will
provide you with information such as the date on which the photo
was taken, it will provide you with a time to the actual second,
some of them will actually even provide you with the GPS
location of where the photo was taken, as well.
What they found out from analysing Paul Monday's drill photo
opened up a massive hole in his story.
It was absolutely key.
It told us that the photograph had been presented and taken
after the item was said to have been stolen.
So, miraculously, Monday had managed to snap a shot of his drill
after the burglary.
The team confronted him with this evidence.
The customer wasn't immediately able to explain that but after
some further discussion he did actually admit to us that he'd
taken a standard image from the internet, he'd presented it to us
as the item that he had claimed for and he hadn't actually
considered what the consequences of that might have been.
And the consequences were really bad for this particular scammer.
We explained to the customer that he had committed fraud in terms
of the conditions of the policy and that the repercussion of that
would mean that not only would we have to cancel the policy
but we'd also have to seek the money back for sums we had paid
for the replacement of the items that he'd already received.
Paul Monday was less than impressed.
The customer complained to the Financial Ombudsman Service
and, in fact, the Ombudsman, on looking at all of the facts
presented by both the customer
and ourselves in terms of how we reach that decision, concluded that
we had actually made a fair decision and that the claim shouldn't stand.
Monday's objections had been overruled and he was instructed
to play nearly £1,500 back to Lloyds -
the value of all the new tools he had received.
But it didn't end there.
The case was referred to the City of London police's
Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department
and Monday found himself in front of a magistrates' court.
He pleaded guilty in court to charges
of fraud by false representation and as a result of that
he received a 12-month conditional discharge.
It may have been that Paul Monday's shed had genuinely been broken into,
but by lying to his insurers and providing false evidence
he's ended up owing them nearly £1,500
and has a permanent criminal record to boot.
Nobody likes paying more than we have to for everyday services,
but this is exactly what's happening with insurance fraud.
Scammers and conmen are swindling their way to pay-outs
that they don't deserve.
The knock-on effect is that the extra costs result in ever
We're getting hit in the pocket and it's not just organised
criminal gangs to blame.
Exaggerated household claims also take their toll.
But instead of getting away with it,
more and more of these fraudsters are being Claimed And Shamed.
A speeding fine uncovers a major fraud racket, metadata contained in a photo puts a spanner in the works for a claim for stolen tools, a lie about an accident in a betting shop doesn't pay out, and in the USA an elaborate fake death scam is foiled.