Eleven jailed over Derbyshire 'cash for crash' scam
Eleven people have been jailed for making hundreds of thousands of pounds from "cash for crash" scams.
At least 41 crashes were staged in 2011 and 2013 across Derbyshire, with gang members acting as drivers, passengers, witnesses and in other roles.
Lone women and elderly drivers were specifically targeted, the court heard.
Nottingham Crown Court heard one victim missed a funeral as a result of a crash, with an elderly woman too shaken to drive again after one incident.
Five people were found guilty for their part in the fraud after a trial at Nottingham Crown Court.
Seven others had previously pleaded guilty to fraud offences, with one man due to be sentenced at a later date.
- Naseer Ahmed, 26, of Ferris Road in Sheffield, jailed for five years and three months.
- Martin Walker, 29, of Hopton Close in Ripley, Derbyshire, jailed for five years and three months.
- Muhammed Asghar, 28, of Harrington Street in Derby, jailed for five years.
- Davinder Nagra, 40, of Arkwright Avenue in Belper, jailed for five years.
- Dharminder Nagra, 47, of Gregorys Way in Belper, jailed for five years.
- Adam Stark, 27, of Trenton Drive in Long Eaton, jailed for four years and nine months.
- Arsalaan Hussain, 29, of New Street in Bierley, Bradford, jailed for four years.
- Liam Swinfield, 24, of Northfield Avenue in Long Eaton, jailed for 31 months.
- Dorothy Bacon, 28, of Cedar Avenue in Ripley, Derbyshire, jailed for 30 months.
- Nicola Brown, 24, of Edinburgh Court in Alfreton, jailed for 21 months.
- Anthony Walker, 24, Loscoe Road in Heanor, jailed for 18 months.
- Adeel Aziz, 27, of Colwyn Avenue in Normanton, will be sentenced at a later date.
The court heard how, as part of the scam, two companies had been set up by some of the defendants to deal with claims around 41 different collisions between 2011 and 2013.
The convicted played "a variety of roles", including acting as drivers, passengers and independent witnesses involved in the crashes.
In total, the court heard the group earned profits of about £420,000, with costs to the insurance industry said to be more than £700,000.
As well as custodial sentences, Ahmed, Asghar, Hussain, Davinder and Dharminder Nagra and Martin Walker are disqualified from acting as company directors for eight years.
Judge John Burgess described the operation as "a sophisticated and well-organised fraud" that sought out victims "on the basis of their vulnerability".
He added: "The harm caused in a case like this isn't just monetary - drivers and passengers in targeted cars have been harmed emotionally, if not physically, and have been put at a great inconvenience."
Following the sentencing, Ben Fletcher, director of the Insurance Fraud Bureau, warned such scams cost the insurance industry £336m a year.
"This is a financial burden on insurers, but it's ultimately premium-paying motorists who are footing the bill for fraudsters," he said.
Det Con Kevan Handley, from Derbyshire Police, said it was "a complex investigation" that uncovered the extent of the fraud, and hopes the severity of the sentences will deter other potential offenders.
"It's not just about the cost to the insurance companies or drivers, as these incidents can potentially lead to serious injury, if not worse," he said.
"It's luck of the draw really - you only need one thing to go wrong and somebody dies."