Business partners who claimed to be strangers guilty of £150k crash for cash scam

Posted on 17 Oct 2017

Two men who claimed to have been involved in a road accident in order to fraudulently claim thousands of pounds from QBE Business Insurance have been ordered to pay back what will amount to close to £150,000. DWF brought proceedings against David Kelly and Allan Lewis to claim back the monies that QBE had paid out, believing their claims to be genuine. It transpired that Kelly and Lewis were business partners and have known each other for 20 years, although Lewis denied that when interviewed in connection with the claim.

Following an accident which was said to have taken place in February 2013, when Allan Lewis ran into the back of David Kelly's Mercedes, Kelly made a claim against QBE for the damage to his vehicle.  Lewis also made a claim against his policy for the damage to his Mercedes and QBE paid out over £56,000 in respect of the two vehicles. Kelly, through solicitors, also intimated a claim for personal injury. A claim for credit hire for over £30,000 was received from a separate set of solicitors, which was withdrawn. During the course of giving evidence at Trial in Liverpool County Court in March, Kelly denied instructing solicitors to pursue a claim for injury.

Handing down judgment on 11th August 2017, HHJ Peter Gregory concluded that the accident was not genuine and that the damage that had been sustained to the two vehicles had been caused deliberately. In an effort to bolster their claims, the men had called evidence from Michael Costello, who had been "…regrettably recruited to bolster the defendants' case". The men were ordered to pay back the sums paid out by QBE with costs, the total amount is likely to be around £150,000.

Paul Scott, Head of Motor, Liability and Property Claims for QBE said:

"These men conspired to claim thousands of pounds for what on the surface appeared to be a genuine claim. We are delighted with this result, fraudulent activity like this ends up costing all policyholders more money and diverts our specialists from supporting genuine claimants.”

Graham Smith, Director at DWF, who successfully brought the proceedings said:

"The fact that these men continued to pretend that the accident was genuine all the way to trial shows what the insurance industry is up against. They had no compunction about claiming large sums of money and then lying in support of those claims. This is a great result for our clients."