A motorist made a fraudulent insurance claim for a road traffic accident that he was never involved in — one of 92 fake accidents staged over three years by one man, a court was told yesterday.
Rashid Shaikh, 29, told his insurers that he had been driving a black Audi that suffered scratches when a Volvo ran into the back of it on a roundabout, Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, was told.
Mr Shaikh and two other men, the owner of the Audi, Iqbal Khan, and his son, Ershad Khan, supposedly a passenger, made a £20,000 insurance claim between them for the “written off” car and for whiplash injuries.
William Baker, for the prosecution, told the jury that the real driver was a man called Muhammad Patel, who had made a profit of £46,000 by staging 92 collisions in three years.
Mr Shaikh, of Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, denies one count of conspiracy to defraud between January 1, 2005, and June 10, 2008.
The prosecution claimed that Mr Patel, who had admitted conspiracy to defraud on October 25, 2005, made the claim after a staged collision at Eden Point roundabout on the A34 close to Cheadle, near Manchester, a day after staging a similar “accident” in the same place.
Mr Patel’s vehicle, Mr Baker said, received no more than a few scratches when the Volvo ran into the back of it. When the drivers exchanged insurance details, Mr Patel gave Rashid Shaikh’s name instead of his own. After the incident the car was deliberately reversed into a lamppost to cause more damage, allowing it to be classed as a write-off. As this “accident” was taking place, Iqbal Khan was hiring a new car to replace the damaged one.
Both Iqbal and Ershad Khan have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud, the jury was told. Mr Baker told the court that Mr Shaikh claimed that his name was used without his knowledge for the fraudulent insurance submission. But he added: “The Crown say he must have participated [in the fraud]. Otherwise how was Muhammad Patel to hand his name to the driver at the scene?”
The prosecution claims that Mr Patel staged a series of accidents across the North West between 2005 and 2008. He recruited participants and charged £500 for each accident that he created.
Explaining the fraud, Mr Baker said that Mr Patel would enter a roundabout and stop suddenly, ensuring that the car behind hit his own. The vehicles would be travelling at such low speeds that injuries were unlikely and damage to the cars minor. The authorities were alerted by office workers who could see the roundabout and noticed that one driver in the crashes was always the same man.
The jury was told that Mr Shaikh and Iqbal and Ershad Khan wasted no time in submitting their no-win, no-fee claim. They contacted the firm Motion Accident Services in Bolton on the day of the staged accident and solicitors were instructed the following day. Mr Baker told jurors that 16 other people, all claimants, had admitted conspiracy to defraud.