Personal injury company MD convicted after targeting buses for crash for cash fraud

News stories are free to read. Click here for full access to all the features, articles and archive from only £8.99. A managing director of a personal injury claims firm has been convicted of fraud after setting up over £1m of crash for cash scams targeting buses.

The Daily Post reported that the 41-year-old MD John Smith and nine other defendants were convicted for their role in the scam involving more than 200 false whiplash claims. John Smith was convicted by jury of one count of fraud and seven counts of conspiracy to commit fraud following a three-month trial at Manchester Crown Court. He was the Managing Director of Chester-based Swift Accident Solutions, which specialised in personal injury claims. The other nine defendants were all found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud. A further four defendants had already pleaded guilty to the same offence. All are awaiting sentencing. Three other individuals ere found not guilty of the same offence. John Smith was the ringleader of an elaborate crash for cash scam in which he organised a number of minor accidents, typically involving a bus and a car, in the Chester area to create new claimants for his business. The investigation by officers from Chester CID centred on a total of seven collisions which took place between October 2010 and January 2012, and all involved FirstGroup buses. All of the collisions followed similar scenarios, in which a car would collide with the side of a bus, causing both minimal impact and minimal damage. In each case the driver of the car would admit full liability, allowing all of the passengers from the bus to submit personal injury claims. As a result of the seven collisions, a total of 218 personal injury claims were submitted, with 177 of the claimants using Smith’s Swift Accident Solutions. The court heard how Smith earned payments of between £840 and £960 for each claimant he introduced to a solicitor. Based on an average of £900 for each of the 177 claimants, the prosecution estimated that the seven collisions would have created a gross income of £159,000 for Smith, believed to account for over 75% of the total gross income received by Swift Accident Solutions during the period the collisions occurred. All of the claims submitted by Swift Accident Solutions were for whiplash and soft tissue injuries, meaning that they could not be evidentially verified and instead relied on the truthfulness of the individual claimants. The case came to light after First became suspicious about the number of collisions involving FirstGroup buses that had occurred in the Chester area. Detective Inspector Simon Lonsdale from Chester CID said: “This was an extremely complex investigation spanning nearly three years and involving a large number of defendants. It has been a challenging process for all officers involved and has required considerable professional skills in relation to the investigation and the subsequent prosecution.

“The crime that 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 insurance policies.”