Accidents staged in insurance fraud

Thirteen people yesterday pleaded guilty to attempting to defraud insurance firms by taking part in staged road accidents.

The seven men and six women, all with addresses in Cork, appeared at Midleton District Court yesterday charged with making a gain or causing a loss by deception, with the charges arising from one of three incidents that took place in 2011.

Judge Brian Sheridan accepted jurisdiction in all but four of the cases.

Ian Gosnell, aged 46, of 13 Maple Lane, Castlelake, Carrigtwohill; Rory Hannaway, aged 29, of 44 Bannog Dwyer’s Rd, Midleton; and Peter Lonergan, aged 45, of 1 Killeagh Gardens, Killeagh, were all sent forward on signed guilty pleas to appear at Cork Circuit Criminal Court on October 27.

Defence for Dermot Moynihan, aged 52, of 2B Millfield Cottages, Old Mallow Rd, Cork, indicated that he will plead guilty to the charge, and will appear again in Midleton Court next Thursday to be sent forward on a signed guilty plea to appear at the circuit court.

Judge Sheridan indicated that he refused jurisdiction in these cases as the men involved were driving at the time of the incidents. He accepted jurisdiction in the other nine defendants’ cases, who were all passengers in the staged accidents, and instructed probation reports be prepared in each case for sittings of Midleton Court in December and January.

The staged crashes took place on Model Farm Rd, Cork, on February 17, 2011; at Redbarn Cross, Youghal, on April 4, 2011; and in Leamlara on June 18, 2011.

Those who received insurance payouts arising from the incidents have been ordered by the court to return the monies.

The charges come as part of a wider Garda probe codenamed Operation Nascar.

The investigations, carried out by the organised crime and the fraud units based at Anglesea Street Garda Station in Cork City, centre on road accident incidents around the country.

Insurer Aviva yesterday congratulated the gardaí on their investigations and said Operation Nascar has so far resulted in the conviction of 16 people who submitted fraudulent claims against the company.

“We estimate that fraudulent claims cost our customers at least €50 per private motor insurance policy,” said Allan Archer, head of claims at Aviva General Insurance. “As a responsible insurer, we are bound to ensure that we only pay out on genuine claims.”


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