Police smash crash for cash insurance scam involving more than 80 motorists
The Gwent Police investigation helped expose a ring which saw more than 80 motorists take part in fake accidents before making bogus claims totalling more than £800,000.
The four year scam was centred on a family garage in south Wales and was exposed when footage from the garage’s CCTV cameras was uncovered showing a Land Rover being deliberately driven into a forklift truck.
Today the final five conspirators were sentenced by a judge at Newport Crown Court, who described their actions as “excruciatingly dishonest”.
Bethan Palmer, 26, of Newport, Stephen Pegram, 49, of Blackwood, Nicola Cook, 41, of Hengoed, Nicola Rees, 48, of Bargoed, Caerphilly County, and Stephen Brooks, of Cardiff, were all convicted in connection with the scam.
During the sentencing hearing, prosecutor Christopher Clee QC said they had been involved in making false claims worth £144,000 between 2009 and 2011.
Cook and Pegram were handed prison terms of 12 months and six months respectively , while their three co-defendants were handed suspended sentences.
Detective Chief Inspector Richard Williams said he was pleased with the strong message the court had sent out.
He said: “Hopefully from this day onwards this type of crime will be less difficult to commit.
“This investigation was very complex due to the number of defendants involved – it was a difficult process.
“It not only cost the insurance industry hundreds of thousands but also has probably had a knock on effect to motorists in pushing up their premiums too.
“These latest sentences send out a strong message and should act as deterrent to others.”
A court previously heard the scam revolved around garage business St David’s Crash Repair, also known as Easifix, run by the Yandell family.
Last year, Byron Yandell, 32, his father Peter Yandell, 53 and wife Rachel Yandell, 31, along with Gavin Yandell, 31, and Michelle Yandell, 52, were all jailed for between six and two years for the racket.
Their trial was told the family submitted bogus insurance claims – even going so far as to remove airbags from cars to make it look as if the crash was genuine.