Direct Line insurance fraudster jailed

A disqualified driver who crashed and overturned his car, then fraudulently claimed thousands of pounds in insurance from Direct Line has been jailed.

The investigation began when Sussex Police reported that they responded to a collision on the evening of 27 August, where a Volvo XC70 was discovered upside down in a field off Downs Road, Lavant

There was no sign of anyone in the vehicle or nearby, so officers “carried out an extensive search of the area, concerned that any occupants involved may be injured”. 

Reports show that the driver was later located at an address in the area and identified as Matthew O’Neill, 44, of Pagham Close, Emsworth.

According to the police, O’Neill was already serving a five-year disqualification having been convicted of drink-driving in October 2017, his fifth conviction for such an offence.

It was found that during the investigation into the collision, enquiries revealed the defendant had taken out “three separate insurance policies with Direct Line during his period of disqualification, informing the company he held a full UK driving licence and had no motoring convictions”.

He used his policy to fraudulently claim £7,460 for the above collision.

As a result O’Neill was subsequently charged with two counts of driving while disqualified, fraud by false representation, and three counts of insurance policy fraud, and was remanded in custody.

He pleaded guilty to all offences and was further remanded in custody until sentencing at Portsmouth Crown Court on 11 December.

He was sentenced to a total of 24 months’ imprisonment and further disqualified from driving for five years.

Mike Brown, head of counter fraud intelligence at Direct Line, said: “Direct Line Group are committed to working together with the police on their investigations to help protect innocent customers from the impacts of insurance fraud. 

“Those who mislead their insurers and effectively drive uninsured leave honest policy holders to pick up the bill. Hopefully this case sends out a strong message to those who believe it is acceptable to drive whilst disqualified and provide false information to insurers.”

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