On the 23rd February 2017 three men were jailed after they deliberately set-up a car crash so that they could make false insurance claims.
Arthur Bilksji, 24, from Leighton Buzzard, Piotir Wojtukiewicz, 24, from Luton and Michal Wielesik, 24, also from Luton, were all sentenced at Inner London Crown Court after they were caught on CCTV camera on the A411 in Watford deliberately causing a collision. The trio were sentenced to the following prison sentences, Bilksji 15 months, Wojtukiewicz 17 months Wielesik 14 months.
On 23rd April 2015 a man was driving his Vauxhall Vivaro van on his way home from work. He was driving behind two vehicles; a Vauxhall Astra which was directly in front and an unidentified dark coloured saloon car was driving ahead of the Astra. Using a typical ‘Crash for Cash’ tactic, the lead vehicle, slammed on its brakes for no obvious reason and the Astra stopped behind it. The man driving the Vivaro van was unable to stop and went into the Astra at 5mph, the lead car then immediately sped off.
Woktukiewicz, who was sat in the backseat of the Astra got out of the car and spoke to the man seated in his Vivaro. The man challenged Woktukiezwicz and suggested that it had been a deliberate accident. Woktukiewicz then got into the man’s Vivaro, whilst the driver of the Astra drove across two lanes of traffic and into the entrance of an underground car park.
CCTV in the car park shows the Astra stopped at the entrance barriers and the driver’s door and the rear passenger door opened. The rear seat passenger (Bilski) got into the driver’s seat and the original driver walked off. Bilski then drove the Astra away from the car park and the original driver walked off whilst on the phone. The Astra then joined the Vivaro where it can be seen parked on Water Lane.
London Ambulance Service received a call from a man using an unregistered pre-pay phone, telling them that he and two other passengers had been involved in a car crash and were experiencing neck pain. The driver of the Vivaro states that all three occupants of the Astra were moving freely until the ambulance arrived, at which point they started rubbing their backs and necks. The men were assessed by ambulance staff and none of them were taken to hospital.
Whilst the Vivaro driver was still exchanging insurance details with Bilski another man (suspected to be the original driver) walked over whilst talking on his phone. He both admitted and denied being in the vehicle before leaving, but not before the Vivaro driver took photographs of him and the other men on his phone.
The original driver of the Astra has not been traced by the police and the men involved have not disclosed his details. One of the defendants did suggest however that he was the person who organised the crash.
The Vivaro driver alerted AXA insurance to the fact that he thought the accident was deliberately set-up, the men initially placed claims through their solicitors but then did not respond when AXA started to make further enquiries about the accident. Further checks by AXA resulted in them referring the case to IFED for investigation.
Detective Constable Paula Doyle, the officer leading the case for the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department said:
“The three men staged a crash with an innocent member of the public without a thought for the possibility that they could cause injury or worse to other road users. They did not consider that they could be costing the innocent driver his livelihood and push up his insurance premiums.
“Fortunately, the man they targeted was fully aware of how fraudsters like this operate and was able to give his insurers and the police valuable information to assist in identifying and prosecuting three of the men involved.
“Today’s result shows that by working together with insurers such as AXA, cases like this will be exposed and that those who think it is fine to make a living out of crime will end up paying the consequences”.
Tom Wilson, Counter Fraud Manager at AXA Insurance said:
“We firstly want to thank both our customer and the police and for being so vigilant in what can only be described as a blatant crash for cash scam, the sort of which AXA is determined to help stamp out. The sentencing of Bilski, Wotukiewicz and Wielesik has shown the seriousness of such cases and how all parties involved will be held responsible for their actions.
“In this case, we were lucky enough to have CCTV footage from the underground car park that showed the drivers changing seats and then returning to the scene of the accident.
“However, without our customer we would not be able to ensure these fraudsters were caught, and we encourage others in similar situations to do the same to help prevent such scams happening in the future.”