Two fraudsters were recently found guilty at The Old Bailey after trying to falsely claim for vehicle hire charges from a leading motor insurance company.
Engineering evidence provided by GBB (UK) Ltd on behalf of the Metropolitan Police IFED Unit helped in the conviction of the two Defendants.
In April 2011, a Mercedes and a Maserati were involved in a collision when the Mercedes collided into the nearside of the correctly proceeding Maserati. This led to the Maserati being claimed as unroadworthy, accruing over £400 a day in hire and storage charges.
The insurance company instructed GBB to examine the Maserati and consider the consistency of the vehicle damage.
GBB forensic engineer, Phil Watchorn inspected the vehicle in May 2011. The damaged nearside door, panel and sill had been removed by the owner and a scrap merchant, preventing the damage sustained to them from being determined.
An engineer employed by the insurance company had previously examined the vehicle and photographed the nearside damage before the panels had been removed. These photographs showed the panels to have vertical marks on them.
Despite the missing evidence, GBB was still able to establish by the profile of the damage that the vehicle was stationary when it was struck. This opinion was supported by the use of GBB’s crash test research, which has established the given damage profiles for a variety of collisions over a range of speeds.
GBB also discovered that the steering arm linking two track rod end ball joints had purposefully been adjusted to make it longer. This had the effect of causing the nearside rear wheel to ‘toe in’ (point inwards) and deem the vehicle unroadworthy.
Phil advised that since the link could be moved to its original position, realigning the suspension to its pre-collision condition, it appeared that it had been adjusted to fraudulently exaggerate any misalignment caused to the wheel by the Mercedes’ impact.
There was damage to the underside of the vehicle but GBB revealed that it had been caused by jacking the vehicle on the unsupported rear section of the floor pan and was not a result of the collision.
GBB established that the given circumstances were incorrect, as the vehicle was stationary rather than moving, and that the vehicle had been deliberately tampered with to make it unroadworthy and allow the owner to deceitfully claim for hire costs.
The Defendants had pleaded not guilty in the first instance for the counts of ‘fraud by false reputation’, but the pleas were changed to guilty based on the evidence provided by GBB, which the Metropolitan Police ‘relied upon’.
As a result, the Defendants were each given 200 hours’ unpaid work, 12 months’ suspended prison sentences for 24 months and were ordered to repay the insurance company £2550.