‘Cash for crash’ fraudsters get one-way ticket to prison

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TWO fraudsters who arranged for a 12-tonne bus to run into a car as part of a “cash for crash” insurance scam are thought to be behind dozens more fake collisions across the North of England.

Mohammed Omar Gulzar and Shoaib Nawaz, from Sheffield, were jailed for a total of eight years yesterday for masterminding a series of deliberate or non-existent crashes as part of a major fraud conspiracy.

The pair filled a First single-deck bus with passengers before driver Adam Herbert, who was in on the plot, crashed deliberately into a Vauxhall Zafira in the city in June 2011.

The bus normally carried six to eight passengers, but on the day of the crash 30 to 40 were aboard. A total of 26 later made almost identical claims for whiplash through Gulzar’s company City Claims 4U.

Gulzar and Nawaz were sentenced yesterday alongside nine other defendants after a two-year investigation by South Yorkshire Police sparked by the “suspicious” bus crash.

A search of the City Claims 4U premises revealed documents relating to further collisions in Sheffield, Rotherham, Halifax and Bradford, which were also staged so fraudulent claims could be made.

South Yorkshire Police’s fraud manager, Graham Wragg, said: “We could see they had been involved in a number of claims over the North of England.

“It always seemed to be the same people involved, either as passengers or drivers.

“These people seemed to be very unlucky.”

He added: “In all we identified 37 suspicious accidents of which we looked into 15 in a lot of detail. We chose the ones with the best evidence.

“Omar Gulzar and Shoaib Nawaz at the hub were involved in all 37. Different people came in and played different parts. They didn’t know they were conspiring with people who had been in accidents two months earlier.”

As a result of the fraudulent claims made through City Claims 4U involving staged or non-existent crashes, between £40,000 and £45,000 was paid out, though insurance firms set aside £456,000 to deal with the claims.