Back in 2011, bus inspector Asan Akram was behind a £400000 scam, involving a number 42 bus crashing into a Mercedes on Wimslow Road, the busiest bus route in Manchester.
There were more than 30 passengers on board the double decker bus at the time of the incident. Insurers had therefore put aside £400000, expecting a flood of accident injury claims.
Akram was one of the first at the scene of the crash; interviewing the driver, taking down names and asking if anyone needed medical assistance.
An investigation later revealed, however, that Akram, Finglands bus company’s night duty inspector, had staged the collision between the bus and the Mercedes, which had been driven by his friend Tariq Iqbal.
In a statement to the Manchester Evening News, Phil Dobson, prosecuting, said: “CCTV from the bus showed the Mercedes in close proximity to the bus—stopping, slowing, allowing it to overtake—several times before the moment of hard braking and collision.”
After both men admitted conspiracy to commit fraud at Manchester Crown Court, Akram has now been jailed for 16 months. Iqbal was given a 12-month sentence suspended for two years, 250 hours of unpaid work, and a four-month curfew. The bus driver was investigated before being cleared.
Insurance companies became suspicious of the ‘accident’ due to the vagueness of Akram’s report filled out after the incident, and employed a private investigation company.
The City of London Police was given the case by the insurers. They were unable to trace Akram until December 2013. By this time Iqbal had successfully gained a payout of £12500 and Finglands had paid £42000 in legal fees.
As quoted in Manchester Evening News, Max Saffman, defending Akram, said he had shown himself capable of living a law-abiding life, but turned to fraud because of ‘financial desperation’.
City of London Police detective constable Mark Reynolds, who led the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department’s (IFED) investigation, said: “This was a long-running and complex investigation which has ultimately proved that Akram and Iqbal meticulously planned to commit insurance fraud on a massive scale.
“The fact that their attempted scam put lives at risk by causing a crash with a packed double-decker bus on a busy road at night was inconsequential to them.
“They wanted half a million pounds from an insurer and were prepared to go to any length to get it.
“But what both men did not reckon on was IFED and the insurance industry working together to identify and track down criminals and have them brought to justice.”