Eleven convicted in insurance fraud crackdown

Police say eleven people have been convicted in an ongoing crackdown against insurance fraud in North Wales.

Detectives working on ‘Operation Confine’ have been targeting offenders who don’t disclose previous convictions when they apply to insurance companies. More than 300 policies across the region have been cancelled as a result.

Among recent cases, a Maesgeirchen man was ordered to pay £170 after he pleaded guilty to 20 charges of making false statements.

Martin Jones was sentenced to a year-long community order and told to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work when he appeared before Caernarfon magistrates on Thursday.

Officers from the Roads Policing Unit have been working closely with the Motor Insurance Bureau to target cases of so-called ”application fraud”.

Temporary Chief Inspector Dave Cust said: ”When we make enquires into whether an individual has disclosed information such as unspent motoring or criminal convictions, depending on what a particular company asks, we’re not disclosing anything other than what the policy holder should have told them.”

”Where it comes to light that they haven’t disclosed what they should the insurance company will often then take the lead on what action is taken and in a majority of cases, a policy cancellation may be enough.”

”In circumstances where there is a multiple pattern of offending, we will prosecute. The insurance industry is fully supportive as they are being made aware of the scale of the issue, it may save a fraudulent claim, they can make appropriate policy adjustments to correctly reflect an individual’s level of risk etc. Trade policies for instance are also being tackled with more effectiveness.”

In the past year, 302 insurance policies have been cancelled, voided or had increased premiums because of failure to honestly disclose a previous conviction.

Last month, a Bangor man was jailed for ten weeks for making a false statement and having no insurance. Colin Rowlands (42) was also banned from driving for a year by a judge at Caernarfon Crown Court.

In a similar case, David John (34) of Bangor, was also given a year’s driving ban and fined £162 for making two false statements. He was also told to pay £600 in costs.

Temp. Chief Inspector Cust said the North Wales Police crackdown had also attracted interest from several forces across the country.

He added: ”Fraud is not a victimless crime and false claims are felt by everyone, especially when we paying higher insurance premiums. We will continue to use all available powers and continue to clampdown on this type of criminality and hammer home to fraudsters, or indeed anyone thinking of making a false application that it won’t be tolerated.”

Paul Bennett, a national police liaision officer working for the Motor Insurance Bureau, said: ”Uninsured drivers pose a real threat and they are often linked to wider crime, from drug trafficking to using stolen vehicles. By spot-checking motor insurance details, fraud can be exposed, and this helps police to deny criminals use of our roads so it’s harder for them to carry out crime.”

”Operation Confine is an excellent example of an innovative and effective approach to roads policing. We will continue to work in partnership with North Wales Police as this initiative develops, so we can reduce the harm caused by criminals using the road, and bring them to justice.”

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