By: 2 April 2015
Horwich Farrelly helps convict bus crash fraudsters

Horwich Farrelly has helped Cheshire Constabulary to successfully prosecute ten fraudsters involved in one of the largest crash-for-cash scams involving public transport in the UK.

On 1 April, a jury at Manchester Crown court found the accused guilty of conspiracy to defraud in a case brought by the Cheshire Constabulary which was centred around stage-managed accidents involving First Group buses on routes in the Chester area.

In each of seven collisions a car, and in one case a van deliberately drove into a bus. In total 218 bus passengers submitted personal injury claims totalling more than £1m as a result of the collisions.

Horwich Farrelly, represented one of the insurers in the case, ERS, which insured a vehicle that was hired specifically to be used in one of the collisions. Crucial evidence gathered from this incident was instrumental in the prosecution.

One of those found guilty was John Christopher Smith, who ran accident management company Swift Accident Solutions. It was claimed in court that Smith had benefited to the tune of around £157,000 from referral fees alone on 177 of the claims arising out of these collisions.

Ronan McCann, a fraud partner with Horwich Farrelly commended Cheshire Constabulary for its tenacity in pursuing the case.

“It demonstrates that regional police forces have a vital role to play alongside IFED (The Insurance Fraud Department) in fighting organised fraud,” he said.

“Our clients are [also] prepared to commit significant resources to investigating and fighting such attempts to defraud them. We are pleased that ERS and ourselves were able to provide the high quality evidence required for the Cheshire Constabulary to bring this case to a successful conclusion.

“We welcome the court’s verdict and hope this will act as a deterrent to anyone contemplating undertaking this type of large scale fraud,” he added.

Peter Smith, an ERS claims director said: “At ERS claims we have a zero tolerance policy to fraudulent claims.

“Working closely with our legal partner, Horwich Farrelly, we therefore made every effort to support the excellent work conducted by Cheshire Constabulary in attempting to disrupt and prosecute the organisers of what we believe to be a sophisticated insurance fraud ring.”