Audacious family of insurance fraudsters sentenced

Insurance-Fraud

Alexis Brasil, also known as Alexis Fernando Yaiya Leon, used numerous aliases to commit insurance fraud totalling £37,334.

Aziz Begum, Brasil’s mother and his nephew, Mohammed Saqib Ali claimed not to have seen Brasil for two years.

Brasil was arrested by Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department officers in Belfast in March 2017.

A man and a woman have been sentenced to a total of four years and six months for fraud and money laundering offences after they submitted fraudulent insurance claims totalling £37,334. A third defendant was sentenced earlier after pleading guilty.

  • Alexis Fernando Yaiya Leon, previously known as Alexis Fernando Rei Do Brasil, 36, of Walsall, pleaded guilty to 17 counts of fraud and money laundering and was sentenced to two years and eight months in November 2017.
  • His mother, Aziz Begum, 63, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit money laundering and sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years.
  • Brasil’s nephew, Mohammed Saqib Ali, 23, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit money laundering and sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years with 120 hours’ unpaid work.

Brasil used numerous aliases between 15th October 2013 and 4th July 2016 to make eight separate insurance claims while he was out of prison on licence following a separate conviction for fraud in October 2012.

The City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) was contacted in November 2013 by Aviva Insurance with suspicions that, between 17 October 2013 and 6 November 2013, Brasil had taken out three separate home insurance policies using different names and addresses in order to make claims on these policies.

Brasil is known to have changed his name on multiple occasions both officially via deed poll and unofficially.

Having made one claim with Aviva on 28 October 2013 for £3,409.99, Brasil attempted to make an identical claim through another Aviva policy for the same amount on the same day. This was however unsuccessful as Aviva identified this duplication.

Brasil then made an identical claim on a Royal Sun Alliance (RSA) policy on 7 November 2013. Aviva contacted RSA and established that the claim had been made using identical receipts to those provided to Aviva.

In response to the suspected fraudulent claims highlighted by Aviva and RSA, a search warrant was executed by IFED on 3 December 2013 during which a passport showing Brasil’s image and a bank letter were seized. The Passport Office provided evidence to show that the passport was reported lost and a replacement was applied for in February 2012. The passport application had a photo attached which was falsely authenticated by a medical professional. This doctor has confirmed that he did not provide a signature for the passport image.

Through the use of specialist software, it was determined by IFED that Brasil had used six aliases to take out insurance policies and make fraudulent claims with Aviva over a three-year period.

As a result of two Aviva policies set up by Brasil, Begum and Ali both had payments made into their bank accounts. One of these policies was set up on 24th April 2015 and a successful claim was made on 6th May 2015 relating to a burglary. This resulted in a pay out of £21,898 which was paid into a bank account registered to Brasil’s nephew, Mohammed Saqib Ali.

The second policy was set up on 19th February 2016 and Aviva was notified of a burglary on 11 March 2016. The claim was successful and a total of £12,025 was paid out in three separate payments to two bank accounts controlled by Brasil’s mother, Aziz Begum.

Aviva made contact with IFED again in May 2016 as they had noticed a pattern of offending which they attributed to Brasil.

Brasil’s family members, Aziz Begum and Mohammed Saqib Ali were visited by IFED on 21 June 2016, however they claimed not to have seen Brasil for nearly two years and believed he was outside the UK.

Following an extensive investigation with cooperation from West Midlands Police, IFED tracked Brasil to Belfast in February 2017. It was at an interview with the Passport Office on 2nd March 2017 that Brasil was arrested by IFED officers with the assistance of the Police Service Northern Ireland.

Detective Constable Lloyd Haywood of the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department said: “Brasil’s audacious crimes were complex but not unique - we see similar cases to this one every day.

“Despite Brasil’s attempts to evade Police with multiple identities and continue to commit fraud, we were able to track him down and put a stop to his deception.

“Through the cooperation of Government Agencies as well as banks and insurance companies, we have shown that IFED will pursue and bring to justice those who position themselves outside of the UK in a bid to evade law enforcement.

“The Jury had a difficult job to convict Ali and Begum and their patience and attention to detail is appreciated.

“IFED will continue to prevent their crimes whilst abroad and look to confiscate their assets to compensate victims.”

Tom Gardiner, Head of Fraud, Aviva UK Insurance, said: “Despite Mr Brasil going to great lengths to disguise his serial frauds and avoid capture, including changing his identity, our team at Aviva never gave up on the case and worked relentlessly with IFED to bring him to justice. As this case shows, Insurers have very effective mechanisms in place for sharing intelligence and working with the police, so if you do commit fraud it’s now very likely that you will be caught. The cost of fraud pushes up premiums for everyone and we will continue to be tough on fraud for the benefit of our customers.”

Adele Sumner who is head of fraud intelligence & strategic development in RSA’s counter-fraud unit: “Insurance fraudsters will go to great lengths to evade detection including creating false identities and attacking different insurance companies. 

“Insurance companies do exchange information to prevent this type of fraud, and fraudsters need to realise that the insurers and IFED are working together to bring criminals to justice, to protect honest customers and to prevent the public bearing the brunt of fraudulent insurance claims.”