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Crash scam pair to pay cash back.

Byline: strand news agency

TWO Cardiff residents involved in a massive "crash for cash" scam have been ordered by a High Court judge to pay thousands of pounds in damages to insurers.

Amir Hassan Ghaemkhah, 35, and Samanen Bojnardifard, 32, both of Crumlin Drive, St Mellons, were among 29 people involved in making bogus insurance claims for nine staged car accidents in 2010 and 2011.

The court heard no members of the gang were prosecuted due to a lack of police resources, but they will still have to pay almost PS150,000 to Direct Line between them as punishment for making the false claims.

Mr Ghaemkhah and Ms Bojnardifard claimed they were injured and their Chrysler damaged when a woman - who was also involved in the plot - crashed into the back of it on a slip road between the M25 and A1, near London in September 2011.

But investigators for the insurers discovered the other car supposedly involved in the accident was undriveable at the time.

The pair were later arrested by the City of London Police's Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) along with the two people who claimed they were driving the other car.

Photographs were found on one of their mobile phones, dating from before the accident, which showed the damage on Mr Ghaemkhah's car.

Investigators for the insurers said this indicated the photographs had been sent so their stories about the damage to the car would match up.

There were also photographs of Ms Bojnardifard with the woman who claimed to have been driving the other car.

Mr Ghaemkhah and Ms Bojnardifard will be expected to pay PS9,000 towards the total between them.

Mr Ghaemkhah will also have to repay PS3,395 he received from Direct Line before the scam was uncovered.

Making the order at the High Court in London, Mr Justice Flaux criticised the culture of bogus car insurance claims, which he described as a "scourge" that left "law-abiding motorists" to pick up the bill.

He said those involved in the scam were unlikely to be "cash rich", but had to be made to pay for their dishonesty to prevent others from doing the same.

The court heard most of those involved in the plot were based in London and the fabricated accidents were all said to have taken place in the capital.

Investigators working for Direct Line became suspicious when they realised most of the claims featured one or more of the same five car hire or claims management firms - all based in north London.

The similarities between all nine crashes also rang alarm bells and a number of those who had made claims were arrested by the IFED.

Mr Justice Flaux told the court a number of those arrested confessed to the fraud, but no prosecutions were brought because of "limited resources".

The court previously entered judgment in favour of Direct Line in relation to all but two defendants - who admitted their involvement in the conspiracy.

Marcus Grant, representing the insurers, said: "The defendants' conduct in seeking to defraud Direct Line amounted to an outrageous disregard of its rights."

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 17, 2016
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