Crash for cash couple to return swag

FRAUDSTER: Patel treated his girlfriend to two luxury cars which he paid for with crime

THE COUPLE who lived a life of luxury following a ‘crash for cash’ scam are returning their ill-gotten gains.

Mohammed Patel, 24, of Nottingham Drive, Bolton and Ettorina Hay, 29, of Kirkby Road, Bolton, have been sentenced for their part in a scam where insurance companies were conned following fraudulent claims on the back of at least 93 forced collisions between 2005 and 2008.

Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court has now ordered the pair to repay their earnings from the scam, after a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).

Operation Contact, the police investigation supported by the Insurance Fraud Bureau, exposed a scam that could have led to an exposure to insurers of millions of pounds.

The investigation, one of the largest of its kind in the country, revealed Patel deliberately caused collisions for whichever client was willing to give up his car keys and insurance details.

He would be paid a fee while the claimants demanded compensation for personal injury, courtesy cars and legal fees at the expense of the other party’s insurers.

Throughout this period Hay was in a relationship with Patel, and lived in a rented house on Kirkby Road in Bolton.

Hay was unemployed and enjoyed a lavish lifestyle, paid for by Patel who spoiled her with the trappings of his trade.

LAVISH: Hay lived an expensive criminal lifestyle while out of work buying leather sofas, expensive cars and a posh TV

After Patel was arrested, officers went to the house as part of their inquiries. Two luxury cars, a Lincoln Navigator and Mercedes C 180, were parked outside. Both of these cars had been registered in Hay’s name.

More expensive property was found inside the house, including a large plasma TV, leather sofas, designer clothes and cash.

Further inquiries showed that Patel’s money also paid for holidays to Spain, France and Turkey, as well as her general living costs.

The confiscation hearing decided that Hay’s benefits from the scam totalled £35,000. Greater Manchester Police sold the two cars and recovered £536.09 from the house, as well as assets worth £1,000.

She was ordered to pay £1,000 within three months.

Patel was ruled to have gained £46,000 from the scam. He had no identifiable assets in his name, and was ordered to pay £1.

Hay earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of possession and conversion of criminal property and was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for two years, along with 300 hours unpaid community work.

Patel was earlier jailed for four and a half years at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court after admitting a three-year conspiracy to defraud insurance companies.

To find read Manchester Mouth’s earlier coverage of the crash for cash scam click here.

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