A mother who filed a false insurance claim for whiplash suffered in a completely fictitious car crash was jailed at the High Court today in the first case of its kind.
In a landmark ruling for the insurance industry, a top judge said the courts had a duty to clamp down on the prevalent fraud which was driving up premiums for everyone.
Insurers have brought contempt proceedings against claimants for exaggerating their injuries before, but this was the first time anyone has been brought before the High Court for a completely invented accident.
Samina Bashir, 28, of Navigation Street, Birmingham, admitted making the bogus claim for damages having originally claimed she was involved in a three-car crash that never happened.
Her partner Faisal Rauf has also been imprisoned for backing up her claim.
Insurer LV= demanded that the couple be jailed for contempt of court after the truth emerged about the “accident” – which could have cost up to £75,000 in payouts.
Two senior judges handed the pair six-week sentences, saying they hoped the “clang of the prison gates” would deter the “rampant dishonesty” of false insurance claims which has been blighting Britain.
Sir John Thomas, sitting with Mr Justice Silber, said: “It is conduct which must be deterred because it strikes at the very heart of our system of justice, and does great damage to every citizen who has an insurance policy.”
Ms Bashir’s parents, Kaneez Akhtar and Mohammed Bashir, of Littleton Road, Birmingham, were spared prison but given six-week sentences, suspended for one year, for their admitted part in the fraud.
The court heard that the family falsely claimed that Ms Bashir was driving her partner and parents in a Rover which was hit by a BMW in Handsworth, Birmingham, on January 6, 2008, knocking it into a Peugeot.
Ms Bashir claimed more than £5,000 compensation for the whiplash she faked, and insurers had to set aside up to £75,000 for other expected claims.
But when it emerged that the family had connections to those supposedly driving the other vehicles, insurers launched an investigation.
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