Woman sentenced after falsely claiming her business premises had flooded

Insurance-Fraud

Woman tried to claim £107,000 from AXA insurance

The insurance company realised that she was lying and refused to pay out

Her goods had actually been damaged at a separate location, where she didn’t have insurance cover

3rd August 2017, a 39 year old woman from Leeds was sentenced for fraud by false representation at Leeds Crown Court.  She was given a 16 month suspended prison sentence and was ordered to pay £7,500 compensation after an investigation by officers from the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) found she had fraudulently made an insurance claim for £107,000.

Ruchi Dhir, 39, from Leeds, had her Harewood International Products LLP business premises on Enfield Street in Leeds insured by AXA Insurance.   On 26th December 2015 a large amount of stock which was kept in a rented warehouse space was damaged by a flood.  Dhir did not have insurance to cover this and instead decided to claim the stock had been damaged at her businesses premises rather than in the warehouse where it was being stored at the time.

On 29th December 2015, Dhir phoned AXA and made a claim for £107,000 worth of stock. AXA was suspicious of the claim because on a site visit , only a small amount of damaged stock could be seen and Dhir had tried to make an amendment to the policy to backdate cover for the warehouse.

On 15th August 2016 AXA referred the case to IFED. During the investigation IFED spoke to the owner of the warehouse who was able to verify that the photographs that Dhir had taken of the damaged stock, were taken in the warehouse store room as distinctive features such as the railings could be recognised in the picture.

Further investigation by officers led them to a company who had rented a trailer to Dhir between 4th-16th January 2015.  Dhir had told the rental company that she was transporting damaged stock and that she needed the trailer so that she could take it to her business address.

Detective Constable Kevin Hughes who led the investigation for the City of London Police said:

“Dhir took advantage of her insurer and tried to claim a significant amount of money. Luckily they were able to recognise that this was a bogus claim and that Dhir was trying to pull the wool over their eyes.

“We would like to thank AXA as well as the other companies who helped us to bring Dhir to justice.

“This result goes to show that those who commit insurance fraud will be forced to face the consequences.”

Judith Waterhouse, Head of Commercial Property Claims, AXA UK:

"Some might think that insurers have deep pockets and stretching the truth is acceptable. Insurance fraud is against the law and the sentence handed down in this case – albeit suspended - should act as deterrent to anyone thinking about submitting a fraudulent claim.”