Keoghs Insight

Author

Ben Leech

Ben Leech

Partner

T:01204 672320

CCTV foils absent fraudster sentenced to eight months

News And Events23/03/2021

Keoghs and Admiral Insurance secure successful contempt of court ruling as footage reveals alleged driver wasn’t even at the scene

EUI Limited v Murray & Cheney 

A fraudster has received an immediate custodial sentence of eight months whilst his colluding partner awaits sentencing in April, following a successful contempt of court action by Keoghs and Admiral.

The initial incident occurred when the claimant vehicle, in the flow of traffic, collided with the defendant as she reversed out of her driveway, before losing control and hitting several stationary vehicles.

The claimants, Mr Murray and Ms Cheney, lodged personal injury claims and stated that Murray was driving, whilst Cheney (who was only in possession of a provisional driving licence) was a passenger. This was contrary to the insured’s evidence, which stated that the driver was female.

Evidence

The claimants were unaware that the insured had a CCTV camera trained on her driveway which clearly contradicted their version of events. The footage showed that Murray wasn’t even at the scene, let alone driving the car.

All Murray’s supporting evidence, including a witness statement and medical report, stated that he was the driver of the vehicle, with both claims worth a combined pay out of over £10,000 if successful. This gave a clear indication that the claimants were intent on defrauding Admiral, with Cheney actually driving a vehicle she was not legally entitled to, and certainly not insured on.

Armed with the CCTV footage and insured’s witness evidence, Keoghs and Admiral disputed the claims, stating that Cheney was, in fact, the driver and the two were lying about Murray’s involvement, with both claims being fraudulent.

The claimants initially ploughed on in the face of the insured driver’s witness statement. However shortly after the CCTV was disclosed as evidence, the pair discontinued their claims.

Trial

Given the nature of the fraud, a decision was made to issue contempt proceedings against both claimants and the contempt hearing proceeded at Stoke County Court where, in a final twist, both claimants admitted contempt at the door of the court.

After hearing evidence from all parties, HHJ Rawlings judged that the claims were dishonest and in contempt, particularly given the claimants had repeatedly denied any wrongdoing up until the morning of the hearing and submitted several dishonest statements. He added that by denying Cheney was the driver, the claimants were hiding the commission of serious criminal offences i.e. driving without a licence and insurance. Furthermore the claims for compensation were deemed unnecessary and solely motivated by greed.

It was judged that the fraudulent actions of the claimants warranted an immediate custodial sentence, with Mr Murray given eight months and a bench warrant issued for his arrest. Due to personal reasons, the judge delayed the sentencing of Ms Cheney.

Comment

Following the judgment, Keoghs Counter-Fraud Partner Ben Leech said;

“This is a very satisfying result on several counts, not least due to the custodial sentence and contempt of court ruling illustrating a robust approach to fraud by the insurance industry and the courts. This is also a triumph for customer care, with Admiral going above and beyond to back their customer’s version of events, in the face of initial evidence to the contrary. It’s also an important reminder of what the upcoming whiplash reforms are designed to prevent.”

Gareth Alban, Admiral Counter Fraud Operations Manager added;

“From an early stage we worked closely with Keoghs to fight the presented claims. The support of our customer allowed us to follow up on all the investigations and achieve the desired outcome.  It is a great result that supports our zero-tolerance approach to these types of cases.  We hope that the finding and case will serve as a deterrent to those thinking of committing fraud.”