By: 17 January 2020
IFED update: Sentences for two fraudsters

Sentences have been handed down to a man who impersonated his partner to make a £1 million fake death claim and a company director who doctored his papers to try and steal £405,000 from an insurer, following two separate City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) investigations.

In the case of Syed Bukhari, who pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and was sentenced to five years and seven months in prison at Inner London Crown Court, IFED launched its investigation after a referral from his insurer, which was suspicious about his claim on his life insurance policy.

It was discovered that Bukhari had initially contacted his insurer via email purporting to be his partner, claiming that he’d died from a heart attack in Karachi, Pakistan. He also impersonated his partner on the phone in an attempt to validate the claim and progress it further.

A voice analysis expert found strong support that the voice on the calls was Bukhari’s, fake documents—bearing his fingerprints—were submitted to try and substantiate the claim, and an independent claims investigation company discovered further evidence of his deception.

Bukhari was already serving seven years and 11 months in prison for unrelated fraud offences. His new sentence will run consecutively.

Acting detective sergeant Mike Monkton, who led the investigation for IFED, said: “Not only did Bukhari try and fake his own death and steal hundreds of thousands of pounds from his insurer, he was also brazen enough to impersonate his partner in a bid to progress his claim.”

“If he’d been successful, he would’ve benefited up to the sum of £999,999, but thanks to the initial enquiries carried out by the insurer and their subsequent referral to IFED, we were able to uncover the full extent of his fraudulent activity and bring him to justice.”

Following a separate investigation and prosecution, Edward Camborne De Lucy, the company director who doctored a previously-used ‘Form of Acceptance’ in an attempt to bypass his policy’s claim limit and falsely gain £405,000 from Aviva, was given an 18-month suspended sentence and ordered to pay £33,410 in compensation, court costs of £6,590 and a £114 victim surcharge.

FED led on the criminal investigation into De Lucy’s fraudulent activity following a referral from Aviva, which provided insurance for the company in which De Lucy held the position of director.

De Lucy made a claim to Aviva stating that several display screens, which his company provided to a sports club, had been damaged beyond repair due to a storm and were worth £428,679.

Aviva’s loss adjusters agreed that the display boards were damaged beyond repair, but advised De Lucy that there was a policy limit of £200,000 for this claim.

Despite this, an accountant acting on behalf of De Lucy, sent an email to the loss adjusters with a ‘Form of Acceptance’ in the sum of £405,142, requesting an update on the progress of the claim.

The form was signed by De Lucy and appeared to have been generated by the loss adjuster. But on closer inspection, it was uncovered that the form contained a unique Aviva claim reference number, which linked to a previous theft claim which De Lucy had made several months before. This claim had been dealt with by the same loss adjuster and had been settled for £9,792.

This detail revealed that De Lucy had used the previous ‘Form of Acceptance’, but altered the settlement amount to try and claim £405,142, despite knowing that the company’s policy limit for the claim was £200,000.

Tom Gardiner, head of fraud at Aviva, commented: “We are pleased with Mr De Lucy’s guilty verdict and 18 month sentence—which reflects that insurance fraud is a crime and a serious offence, which ultimately pushes up premiums for honest customers.”