herald

Saturday 24 August 2019

Suspect cash-for-crash scam organiser quizzed after gardai raid house

Prangs are organised to order
Prangs are organised to order

A man believed to be one of the country's main organisers of staged car accidents was arrested by detectives yesterday as part of a long-running investigation into fraudulent insurance claims.

The 43-year-old suspect was released without charge after being questioned at Balbriggan Garda Station following arrest at his north Co Dublin home.

He was quizzed specifically about providing false information in an affidavit in which it is alleged he swore he had never made a previous claim.

It is understood he is the first person ever arrested for an offence under the Civil Liability and Courts Act, 2004.

Investigations have established that the man is suspected of being involved in at least half-a-dozen staged accidents that led to more than 40 insurance claims being made in a two-year period.

This resulted in multiple insurance companies paying out hundreds of thousands of euro to dozens of people known to the suspect.

All the staged accidents are alleged to have happened within a small area of Ballyfermot and Clondalkin between 2014 and 2016.

"These were all low-impact accidents which happened at low speeds in which minor damage occurred and the incidents were never reported to gardai," a senior source said last night.

Lucrative

"The arrest of this individual who does not have previous criminal links and who is in employment is part of a wider garda investigation."

The Garda National Econ- omic Crime Bureau (GNECB) is investigating more than 200 fake accident cases nationwide, and more arrests are expected in relation to this type of lucrative crime.

Gardai announced yesterday that "a search warrant was executed at a solicitor's office in the Dublin area" as part of the same probe.

Yesterday's operation is the most significant to be carried out by the GNECB since last month, when detectives conducted searches of solicitors' offices and private homes in a major probe into a Dublin family suspected of more than 20 bogus insurance scams in a separate investigation.

The family are being investigated after thousands of euro were paid out in claims.

They are suspected of having been involved in highly organised fraud going back several years, mainly personal injury claims from slips and falls.

Six high-end cars and jewellery valued at more than €300,000 were seized.

Payment has already been made in some of more than 20 cases involving the family, who have submitted multiple claims using false identities.

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