Man authorised multiple motor insurance claims to help fuel his gambling addiction.
Took advantage of his trusted position to make the false claims.
Lied to brother and sister-in-law so that he could make payments into their accounts.
Was caught-out when he was officially off sick from work but went in on the weekend to file false claims.
On Friday (26th May 2017) Ben House, 31, from Southsea, was sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court to three years and four months imprisonment after he defrauded his employer, Ageas.
Following an investigation by detectives from the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED), House was found to have committed fraud by abuse of position between 1st August 2015 and 16 November 2016.
House was working as a claims negotiator at Ageas in Portsmouth. He was a trusted employee and was given the authority to authorise insurance pay-outs up to the value of £4,000. Anything above this limit, had to be authorised by his team leader. House however took it into his hands to manipulate the process by falsely submitting forged documents, adding false information to the computer system and authorising payments over his £4,000 limit by using the computer login details of his team leader.
In order to commit this fraud, House would identify genuine claims and he would then add false vehicles and damages to that claim. He would then pay the money out to various family members and told them he was paying his bonuses into their bank account as he wanted to avoid tax payments.
The fraud was uncovered when House went into work on Saturday 19th November 2016; while signed-off on medical leave.
On that Saturday, he made fraudulent claims to the tune of £40,000. The following Monday, another team leader started to review some of the claims which had been made at the weekend and she became concerned that the team leader who had been supposedly authorising the claims was potentially overworked having to come in on Saturday to catch-up.
When she raised this concern, the team leader said that he had not been in the office and it wasn’t him who had authorised the claims.
Ageas then opened an investigation and through CCTV footage and computer audits it was found that it was actually House who had visited the office on that day and fraudulently made the claims and authorised them.
House was suspended from the company and the case was referred to IFED as a criminal investigation. He was arrested on 10th December 2016 at his home in Portsmouth and was interviewed at Portsmouth Central Police Station. In the police interview he admitted that he had been committing fraud and claimed that he had been doing so to fuel his gambling addiction. He admitted that he had been lying to his family and telling them that he was paying his bonuses into their accounts rather than telling them the truth about where the money was coming from.
Detective Constable Simon Almond who led the investigation for the City of London Police said:
“House thought that he could abuse the trust that his employers had put in him and get away with stealing huge amounts of money.
“He clearly did not care about what he was doing, even involving his innocent family in the false claims.
“By working together with Ageas we have been able to ensure that justice has now been served and House has been prevented from abusing his position. It is extremely unlikely to have a job in the insurance industry ever again”.
Francois-Xavier Boisseau, CEO, Insurance at Ageas said:
“This case demonstrates that we will not tolerate fraud at any level. As a responsible insurer, we are committed to doing everything we can to detect, disrupt and prosecute anyone who abuses their professional position to commit insurance fraud.
"We have robust policies, processes and procedures in place to ensure we are able to identify any malpractice and respond accordingly.
“We can also confirm that no customers of Ageas were impacted by this fraud.”