Merrick Williams has been jailed for 12 months and banned from driving for two years after admitting conspiracy to commit fraud
Britain’s biggest single ‘crash for cash’ insurance plot has been foiled after conmen were seen grabbing their necks after the ringleader drove into the back of a bus.
Merrick Williams rented a car before crashing into a bus in Cardiff, which had his seven friends on board, on May 21, 2014.
CCTV taken from the bus shows that the car passed the bus on two occasions before ploughing into the back of the bus at low speed.
While one passenger appeared to be thrown to the floor when the car hit the bus, none of the other passengers moved.
Shortly after the crash, passenger Nigel Thomas Iti was seen on the CCTV holding his right hand side while Matthew Saunders held the back of his neck whilst walking through the bus.
Hamada Shuyeb was seen holding the right hand side of his hip and lower back.
Two of the gang members were seen holding their necks after Williams crashed his car into a bus
Kieran Murphy and Fahmi Haddad left the bus, while Aaron Ryan and Kurt Taylor walked around inside.
Kassim Mukbill gathered the other passengers together to walk down to the front of the bus as the driver called police and paramedics to attend the scene.
However, no one presented themselves as injured and police declared there was minimal damage at the scene.
During a hearing at Cardiff Crown Court, it was said that insurance investigators AIG became suspicious after receiving personal injury claims – worth more than £50,000 – from the seven men who were on the bus.
When investigators checked on social media they found that at least two of the claimants were already friends with driver Williams.
The eight were hauled to court in the biggest single case investigated by the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department.
CCTV taken from the bus shows that the car passed the bus on two occasions, before ploughing into the back of the bus at low speed
Pictured is Williams prior to the crash, which took place on May 21, 2014 in Cardiff
Prosecutor Suzanne Thomas told the court the men were filmed holding their necks and hips after the crash.
She said: ‘But when the bus driver of the bus called the police and paramedics not a single passenger stepped up to report an injury at the time.
‘One of the fraudsters did go to hospital but he did not stay for long enough to be diagnosed or treated.’
Williams, 30, of Barry Island, South Wales, was jailed for 12 months and banned from driving for two years after admitting conspiracy to commit fraud.
Mukbill, 31, Iti, 24, Shuyeb, 24, Murphy, 29, Haddad, 25, Ryan, 25, and Saunders, 33, were handed suspended sentences and ordered to undertake community service after admitting the same offence.
While one passenger appeared to be thrown to the floor when the car hit the bus, none of the other passengers moved
During a hearing at Cardiff Crown Court, prosecutors said insurance investigators AIG became suspicious after receiving personal injury claims – worth more than £50,000 – from the seven men who were on the bus
City of London Police detective constable Aman Taylor, who led the investigation, said afterwards: ‘The attempted fraud was in a league of its own as this is the largest number of claimants ever tried together in an IFED case.
‘By planning the bus crash, the men deliberately put the safety of innocent people, including children, at risk in a bid to make money and take advantage of the personal injury claims system.’
AIG fraud manager David Halstead said: ‘Insurance fraud impacts all customers.
‘We are extremely grateful to investigators for their hard work in bringing the perpetrators to justice in this particularly devious case.’
Insurance Fraud Bureau Head of Investigations Jason Potter said: ‘Crash for cash scams like this might seem to some to be a harmless way to beat the system and get an easy pay out.
‘But in reality those who commit crimes of this nature now stand a very good chance of getting caught and facing serious consequences.
‘These incredibly dangerous and reckless incidents present a real risk of injury and potentially even death.’