Chester 'cash-for-crash' bus fraud: Ringleader sentenced
The ringleader of a gang who ran a "cash-for-crash" scam involving bus passengers has been jailed for more than six years.
John Smith, 42, from Connah's Quay, Deeside, staged seven collisions in Chester allowing more than 200 people to make false personal injury claims.
A total of 13 other people involved were also given jail terms for conspiracy to commit fraud.
Police said the scam could have totalled more than £1m.
Smith was sentenced to three months for fraud and six years and six months for each count of conspiracy to commit fraud.
These sentences will run concurrently.
All the collisions - six in Chester and a seventh on the A41 in Eastham - happened between 2010 and 2012 and followed a similar pattern, said police.
A car would collide with the side of a bus causing minimal impact but resulting in multiple personal injury claims from the passengers on board.
In total, 218 claims for claims were made for soft tissue damage and whiplash injuries, 177 through accident management firm Swift Accident Solutions where Smith was managing director.
The scam was unearthed when First Group became suspicious about the number of collisions involving its buses.
Det Insp Simon Lonsdale from Chester Police said: "This was an extremely complex investigation, and involving a large number of defendants and spanning a number of years.
"The crime they committed was not a victimless crime.
"Had all of the false claims created by Smith and his associates been successful we believe that the total cost would have been over £1m, which would have been paid for by law abiding citizens through their car insurance policies."