Six people were arrested in Cork yesterday by gardaí investigating a motor insurance injury claims scam.
The four women and two men were among seven people arrested at various addresses across Cork city and county by gardaí from Anglesea St leading an investigation code-named Operation Nascar.
They were detained under the provisions of Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984 at various Garda stations in the city and in the Midlands, where they can be held for up to 24 hours.
One man was released without charge a few hours later, while the other six were still being questioned last night.
The arrests are the latest phase of Operation Nascar, which was launched in 2011 after concerns were raised about what gardaí described as “organised, structured, and staged road traffic accidents”.
The investigation was conducted in association with the insurance industry.
The Garda investigation which led to yesterday’s arrests focused on a group of individuals who were involved in two specific road traffic accidents — one on the outskirts of Cork City and the other in a town in the north of the county.
In both incidents, two vehicles were involved.
Each of the vehicles contained several individuals.
Gardaí were called to the scenes of both incidents but none of the people involved had suffered an apparent personal injury.
However, several falsified personal injury claims linked to both incidents were subsequently lodged with various insurance companies.
Gardaí believe those involved had substantial knowledge of the insurance claims process.
Yesterday’s arrests form part of the second stage of Operation Nascar, which also led to the arrests of five people across Munster on Feb 6.
Those arrests followed the investigation of other road traffic incidents around the country.
Those individuals were released without charge, pending the submission of a file to the DPP.
Operation Nascar is ongoing and gardaí encouraged anybody with information that would be of assistance to theirinvestigation to contact the Organised Crime Unit at the Anglesea St station on 021 4522000.
The Irish Insurance Federation said that insurance fraud costs insurance companies in Ireland an estimated €100m a year — a cost which is ultimately borne by honest policyholders.
The industry set up Insurance Confidential, a confidential hotline for the anonymous reporting of various kinds of insurance fraud, in 2003.
Since then, more than 5,000 cases of suspected fraud have been reported.
Almost 700 new cases of suspected insurance fraud were reported in 2009, up from 300 cases reported in 2008.
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