Zurich Insurance and the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) believe they have uncovered a multimillion-euro Eastern European fraud ring behind fraudulent damages claims arising from staged accidents.
The claim was made in the Circuit Civil Court in a sworn statement by solicitor David Culleton on behalf of Zurich and MIBI, which compensates victims of untraced and uninsured drivers.
Evidence of a major insurance probe into “suspicious multiple claims” was laid before Judge Jacqueline Linnane when she was asked to refer papers to the DPP in a €60,000 personal injury claim by Ivo Janmers, a director of Belgard Motors Ltd.
Paul McMorrow, for Zurich and MIBI, told the court his clients were also seeking costs against Mr Janmers, who, despite court orders, had failed to turn up for medical examinations and had not proceeded with his case.
Judge Linnane said she was aware from Mr Culleton’s affidavit of a considerable and thorough investigation by the insurers into a number of cases, including that of Mr Janmers, leading them to the conclusion that insurance had been taken out just prior to a litany of accidents they believed to have been staged.
The judge said she could not now reopen the case to further award costs or direct papers be sent to the DPP but there was now a committee, in being, to investigate insurance matters and she saw no reason why the outcome of these inquiries might not be forwarded to that committee and then to the DPP.
Mr Culleton said Mr Janmers’ claim was one of six highly suspicious and strikingly similar type of accidents each tainted by some element of fraud, collusion, or conspiracy.
“As a result of their investigations, Zurich and the bureau believe they have been deliberately targeted as part of an organised and sophisticated Eastern European fraud ring which has generated an exposure to a potential 25 personal injuries claims,” he said.
Such claims in the Circuit Court could cost the insurers a potential €2m in compensation, legal costs, and expenses while High Court cases could amount to many multiples of millions.
He said that, since commencing proceedings in July 2015 for damages for a badly injured back, Mr Janmers, 34, had continued to lead a, active and sporting lifestyle, including exposure on social media. The solicitor said Mr Janmers was connected with at least four of the six accidents which Zurich and MIBI had scrutinised.
Mr McMorrow said the accidents with which the court was most recently concerned were staged in the country at remote areas, in the dark at the dead of night, away from any possibility of discovery.
The court heard of four claims relating to a crash in Portlaoise, Co Laois; nine from two crashes at Balrothery, Co Dublin; five from one in Clara, Co Offaly; and seven from two accidents at Swords, Co Dublin. They occurred between December 2012 and December 2013.
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