The ringleader of a Luton gang behind a £1.2m crash-for-cash scam operation has been jailed for six years.
Raja Mehmood, 35, of Sherd Close, Luton, was the ringleader of an organised crime group believed to be behind around 80 collisions between 2013 and 2015.
15 other members of the group were also sentenced after a three-day hearing at St Albans Crown Court concluded today (Monday).
Eight people in total were jailed for nearly 33 years, with others receiving suspended sentences.
The group was arrested by officers investigating the collisions, which were believed to be staged as part of an elaborate insurance scam.
Fellow gang members included:
> Steven Seaton, 47, of Pastures Way, Luton, jailed for four years and nine months.
> Mita Mistri, 37, of Newnham Way, Harrow, jailed for three years.
> Naveed Khan, 22, of Roman Road, Luton, jailed for three years and two months.
> Nadeem Khan, 24, also of Roman Road, jailed for four-and-a-half years.
> Ataf Hussain, 44, also of Roman Road, jailed for four years.
The group used two different tactics, in some cases they would brake suddenly so that the car behind would crash into them, with the driver of the other car then being deemed at fault. In others, the offenders would crash into each other, away from any witnesses so that they could put in a claim.
The investigation uncovered around 80 collisions in total that could be directly linked to the group. Another 10 people were also involved in the fraud, including family members and partners of the OCG members, either helping to stage the accidents or making false insurance claims and collecting the illegal pay outs.
Stephen Dalton, Head of Intelligence at the IFB, said: “We would like to thank ERSOU for bringing vital information to the IFB. By working closely together we’ve been able disrupt this notorious criminal gang in the Luton area.
“Mehmood was the ringleader at the centre of the gang who plagued Luton’s roads before fleeing the country, instead of owning up to his crimes, leaving other gang members to take the fall.
“His manipulative nature also meant he didn’t think twice before taking advantage of his business connections in order to expand his scam and maximise his profits. Today’s result is a win not just for the police and the insurance industry, but also for the local community.”
ERSOU Det Sgt Kelly Gray, who led the investigation, said: “We’re really pleased these offenders have now been brought to justice, and we hope that the sentences send a stark lesson to others.
“We’re committed to clamping down on fraudsters.”