How Bolton firm is tackling town's appalling 'crash for cash' fraud record

A car damaged in a Bolton crash for cash scam

Keoghs Solicitors’ headquarters near the Reebok Stadium

First published in Crime
Last updated
The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

Cash for crash conmen are defrauding insurance companies out of millions of pounds with Bolton ranked ninth in a UK list of hotspots for the crime. Jeremy Culley meets the investigators responsible for breaking up these fraud rings. 

INFURIATING, frustrating, financially damaging, even life-changing — car accidents can have a dramatic impact on households.

What then would your reaction be if you learned that the other driver had deliberately caused the accident to make a quick buck?

Bolton’s record for so-called “cash for crash” incidents is not good, but the town is also home to one of the country’s most successful firms responsible for breaking up these fraud rings.

Keoghs Solicitors has doubled its staff in the last four years — to more than 1,200 — and last year was responsible for recovering £37 million from car insurance fraud, with more and more ending in convictions.

Impressive.

To put that into context, the City of London police's insurance fraud team — Ifed —is currently investigating only £23m worth of car fraud rings in the criminal courts, although their focus is solely on convictions rathe than recovering money for individual clients.

By gathering intelligence and analysing databases, Keoghs’ 12 "fraud rings champions", forming part of a wider team of 70, are employed specifically to investigate and uncover these fraudsters.

Two of these fraud "detective"’ spoke to The Bolton News, but to protect their identities, we have changed their names to Craig and Sandra.

Craig said there were two main types of fradulent claim — stage-contrived and induced.

The former involves two vehicles deliberately colliding while induced crashes refer to people slamming their brakes on to get the car behind to crash into them.

These can cost insurers tens of thousands of pounds.

Injuries sustained by passengers can merit huge payouts with false doctor’s statements not uncommon.

Engineers can value old cars as vintage, meaning a car bought for £500 can be recompensed as if it is worth £10,000.

Crucially, credit hire companies can charge up to £650 a day for replacement vehicles, so a small dispute can rapidly lead to another five-figure bill being submitted.

Craig said: “We recently had one that went to trial in London. I was our representative and we are talking in excess of £700,000 made from the crime.

“If we see seven or eight similar claims, then we build up a larger collective of intelligence.

“We managed to explain to the court that there was a bigger picture and a conspiracy as within a few days they were having more accidents.

“We work very closely with police and, invariably, the people that we take to them are known already.

“Sometimes they call us straight back if we’ve emailed them the name of an organised criminal.

“It just shows what a ‘little firm’ in Bolton is doing to fight insurance fraud.

“Women on their own with children in the car are targeted as they can be distracted.

“Young drivers also crop up a lot because of their inexperience, while commercial vehicles often are involved as people know they will be insured and there is less personal reason for the driver to be unduly worried.

"Areas near shopping centres often come up and you do get fraud rings that stupidly use the same junctions or roundabouts.

"Some roundabouts near the Reebok and our office are also quite popular, ironically.”

Other places in Bolton have also been named previously as some of the worst crash for cash spots in the north of England.

Bolton's most notorious case involved Mohammed Patel, from Halliwell, who was jailed for four-and-a-half years after he admitted being the driver in at least 92 staged crashes across the north west.

In 2011 a Bolton garage owner and three other men were jailed for their part in a £50,000 cash for crash scam.

At Manchester Crown Court Judge Martin Steiger QC jailed 51-year-old Richard Beswick for 18 months.

Judge Steiger said the crime had been “ingeniously engineered by men who had skills way beyond those available to the individual”.

Accident management companies often are at the centre of the frauds and Keoghs has been the downfall of a number of these organisations.

Sandra said: “These companies have popped up in our investigations and we have found their offices to be in a field or a flat above a takeaway. Clearly they will not have the scope to manage such a large number of claims.”

Last year, Keoghs uncovered a huge fraud ring in Burnhope, Co Durham, which involved 261 separate insurance claims. Seven members of the Wright family were among 60 people arrested.

The head of the clan, Alan Wright, was sentenced to four-and-half years in jail last year The Fraud Rings Champions think they are winning the battle.

Sandra added: “It used to be people had virtually nothing to lose in falsely claiming as the worst consequence would be the claim being cancelled. Now we’re getting more and more convictions.”

Comments (9)

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1:06pm Wed 19 Feb 14

davidjb says...

why dont we just do what they do in russia and all have cameras mounted in our cars, no more need for witness's verifying stories. people can drive off from accidents but the camera has their number plates recorded. instantly know who is at fault for each accident. should lower insurance prices to and stops false claims etc
why dont we just do what they do in russia and all have cameras mounted in our cars, no more need for witness's verifying stories. people can drive off from accidents but the camera has their number plates recorded. instantly know who is at fault for each accident. should lower insurance prices to and stops false claims etc davidjb
  • Score: 13

1:12pm Wed 19 Feb 14

boltonchap says...

davidjb wrote:
why dont we just do what they do in russia and all have cameras mounted in our cars, no more need for witness's verifying stories. people can drive off from accidents but the camera has their number plates recorded. instantly know who is at fault for each accident. should lower insurance prices to and stops false claims etc
I've got one and it's brilliant. Worth every penny. Interestingly enough took a Bolton mini-cab last week and he had one too.
[quote][p][bold]davidjb[/bold] wrote: why dont we just do what they do in russia and all have cameras mounted in our cars, no more need for witness's verifying stories. people can drive off from accidents but the camera has their number plates recorded. instantly know who is at fault for each accident. should lower insurance prices to and stops false claims etc[/p][/quote]I've got one and it's brilliant. Worth every penny. Interestingly enough took a Bolton mini-cab last week and he had one too. boltonchap
  • Score: 8

1:21pm Wed 19 Feb 14

davidjb says...

boltonchap wrote:
davidjb wrote:
why dont we just do what they do in russia and all have cameras mounted in our cars, no more need for witness's verifying stories. people can drive off from accidents but the camera has their number plates recorded. instantly know who is at fault for each accident. should lower insurance prices to and stops false claims etc
I've got one and it's brilliant. Worth every penny. Interestingly enough took a Bolton mini-cab last week and he had one too.
its a sound investment, someone flashes and then crashes into you, check footage, its obvious. i watch the accidents on youtube every week and they're all caused by idiots overtaking and weeving mainly. but the camera shows that which means they cant say "they lost control" or other rubbish, you'll obviously get the people who won't like the idea cos' its all 'big brother like' but until they're involved in something where it cant be proved as they're is no video footage and its word against word then they'll realise how handy it would be. they're was a episode of motorway partol on the other month and someone crashed into a row of park cars and they caught fire, the man said he swerved to avoid the truck. but the trucker had a camera and he drove past the accident after he'd already crashed. case solved as simple as that
[quote][p][bold]boltonchap[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]davidjb[/bold] wrote: why dont we just do what they do in russia and all have cameras mounted in our cars, no more need for witness's verifying stories. people can drive off from accidents but the camera has their number plates recorded. instantly know who is at fault for each accident. should lower insurance prices to and stops false claims etc[/p][/quote]I've got one and it's brilliant. Worth every penny. Interestingly enough took a Bolton mini-cab last week and he had one too.[/p][/quote]its a sound investment, someone flashes and then crashes into you, check footage, its obvious. i watch the accidents on youtube every week and they're all caused by idiots overtaking and weeving mainly. but the camera shows that which means they cant say "they lost control" or other rubbish, you'll obviously get the people who won't like the idea cos' its all 'big brother like' but until they're involved in something where it cant be proved as they're is no video footage and its word against word then they'll realise how handy it would be. they're was a episode of motorway partol on the other month and someone crashed into a row of park cars and they caught fire, the man said he swerved to avoid the truck. but the trucker had a camera and he drove past the accident after he'd already crashed. case solved as simple as that davidjb
  • Score: 4

4:05pm Wed 19 Feb 14

Hate politics says...

Quite ironic this article considering Keoghs solicitors are acting for a lady who crashed into the back of my stationary car with myself and two children in, she originally admitted liability but then after speaking to her advisors denied liability to the extent of then resorting to lies stating that my children were not in the car and stating I was on the phone, all this to try and discredit me. Tut tut! As always she got caught out with her lies but it makes me think what sort of advice she received to blatantly lie like she did. True to say there are some Horrible people out there!
Quite ironic this article considering Keoghs solicitors are acting for a lady who crashed into the back of my stationary car with myself and two children in, she originally admitted liability but then after speaking to her advisors denied liability to the extent of then resorting to lies stating that my children were not in the car and stating I was on the phone, all this to try and discredit me. Tut tut! As always she got caught out with her lies but it makes me think what sort of advice she received to blatantly lie like she did. True to say there are some Horrible people out there! Hate politics
  • Score: 15

6:18pm Wed 19 Feb 14

Beyond News Forum says...

Even a genuine 1mph bump brings out the criminal in some drivers. So it is not all crash for cash.

And Hate politics - This is the Defence Lawyer at work. They will even defend the red handed murderers, what do you expect? Law is nothing shor of blatant lying for cash dividends. Law is as much a business as ASDA Wal*Mart is.
Even a genuine 1mph bump brings out the criminal in some drivers. So it is not all crash for cash. And Hate politics - This is the Defence Lawyer at work. They will even defend the red handed murderers, what do you expect? Law is nothing shor of blatant lying for cash dividends. Law is as much a business as ASDA Wal*Mart is. Beyond News Forum
  • Score: 9

7:03pm Wed 19 Feb 14

BoltonLancs says...

Got shunted the other week on Bradford Road turning onto St Peters way, woman in front started to go then broke hard, I broke but the guy behind didn't react in time and hit my tow bar. Got out, no damage to my car, crack in his number plate, saw the guy was a genuine hard working bloke.

He apologised, could have gotten a couple of grand out of it but I'm glad to say I sleep well at night cos I let it go.

We live in a filthy, selfish, greedy society thanks to the banksters and legal system, I don't want owt to do with it...
Got shunted the other week on Bradford Road turning onto St Peters way, woman in front started to go then broke hard, I broke but the guy behind didn't react in time and hit my tow bar. Got out, no damage to my car, crack in his number plate, saw the guy was a genuine hard working bloke. He apologised, could have gotten a couple of grand out of it but I'm glad to say I sleep well at night cos I let it go. We live in a filthy, selfish, greedy society thanks to the banksters and legal system, I don't want owt to do with it... BoltonLancs
  • Score: 107

1:30am Thu 20 Feb 14

wild one says...

nowt said about the dean mob then?
nowt said about the dean mob then? wild one
  • Score: 3

1:48am Thu 20 Feb 14

SleepingThunder says...

Have them bollards on Orlando bridge been put there by a crash 4 cash gang? There have been twelve bumps in just over a month.
Have them bollards on Orlando bridge been put there by a crash 4 cash gang? There have been twelve bumps in just over a month. SleepingThunder
  • Score: -1

7:59am Thu 20 Feb 14

Pulse326 says...

davidjb wrote:
why dont we just do what they do in russia and all have cameras mounted in our cars, no more need for witness's verifying stories. people can drive off from accidents but the camera has their number plates recorded. instantly know who is at fault for each accident. should lower insurance prices to and stops false claims etc
You can get a dash cam for 69p by using your smartphone with an app like Witness Driving. I use it all the time.
[quote][p][bold]davidjb[/bold] wrote: why dont we just do what they do in russia and all have cameras mounted in our cars, no more need for witness's verifying stories. people can drive off from accidents but the camera has their number plates recorded. instantly know who is at fault for each accident. should lower insurance prices to and stops false claims etc[/p][/quote]You can get a dash cam for 69p by using your smartphone with an app like Witness Driving. I use it all the time. Pulse326
  • Score: 3

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