Crash scam 'linchpin' gwets seven years; Huge fraud involved bogus claims.
THE "linchpin" of a multi-million pound cash for crash scam has been jailed for seven years.
Paul Jonathan Wright, 40, was one of the last of some 60 defendants convicted through a Durham Police operation over a massive fraud which involved claims for bogus accidents in the Derwentside area of County Durham.
Wright was sentenced along with four others who became embroiled in the scam.
Wright, of Fellside View in Burnhope, County Durham, was found guilty of conspiring to defraud and fraud and was sentenced to seven years in total for both offences.
The court heard how Wright ran PJAutos at Daleside Works, Craghead Industrial Estate in County Durham, which was at the heart of the fraud.
The court was told Wright was the central organiser of the enterprise. He was sentenced alongside Michael Coates, Gary Cruddas, Kim Sayers and David Sayers who each became involved in fraudulent claims.
On sentencing Wright, Judge Roger Thorn said: "You were the linchpin to it all."
The cost to insurers for the claims has been estimated at around PS500,000.
Coates, of Rockcliffe Way, Eighton Banks in Gateshead, had previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit fraud by false representation.
The 28-year-old was sentenced to 18 months, suspended for 12 months.
Cruddas, of Willmore Street in Sunderland, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation following a bogus claim in May 2008.
The 46-year-old former soldier was sentenced to six months, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work.
Both Kim and David Sayers, of Elemore Lane in Easington Lane in Houghton-le-Spring, both pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation after claiming to be passengers in the same crash as Cruddas.
Kim Sayers, 40, was sentenced to six months, suspended for 12 months.
David Sayers, 34, was also sentenced to six months, suspended for 12 months, with 80 hours of unpaid work.
ORGANISER Paul Wright