A businessman scammed more than £15,000 from his insurance company after staging a bogus car crash in a warehouse – only to be caught after his “moron” associate filmed him smashing up the motor.
Mark Brown – managing director of Fife-base building firm Parbro Construction Ltd – was today jailed over the fraud.
He conspired with another person to take a Ford Focus RS hot hatchback to an industrial unit in Methil “in the dead of night” where it was trashed, leaving it in write-off condition.
It was then transported to Porters Brae, near Kennoway, Fife – a rural road running north east from the town – where he and his unnamed cohort claimed they had been involved in a smash.
False statements were then made to insurers Aviva who agreed to fork out more than £13,000 for the car and £2,500 in costs to Brown.
But that payment was stopped when a claim was made for bogus damage to the other vehicle in the fake incident – prompting an investigation.
That led to the footage of the destruction of the car in the industrial unit being discovered by police.
Jailing Brown, a sheriff told him the fraud was only detected “because many criminals are inherently very stupid, particularly in this case the moron who filmed the staging of this fake accident”.
Brown, 49, of Vettriano Vale, Leven, Fife, denied a charge of forming a fraudulent scheme on summary complaint.
But after a trial he was convicted of the charge.
Defence solicitor Dewar Spence urged a sheriff to allow Brown to walk free from court and impose a direct alternative to custody.
He said: “Unpaid hours of worwk would be a punishment for him and allow him to keep his employment.”
But Sheriff Jamie Gilchrist QC instead jailed Brown for nine months.
He said: “This was a heavily organised and sophisticated crime.
”It involved a drug dealer and industrial premises in Methil to stage a false road accident in the dead of night and the ability to relocate at least one vehicle to the pretend accident site in order that the fraudulent scheme could be put in train.
“It involved the recruitment of a third party to put in a false statement from the other driver in the accident.
”It led to false insurance claims and an agreement to pay a sum of nearly £13,000 plus £2,500 car hire charges.
“There was also a fraudulent claim made by the other party to pay over thousands of pounds before they got wind of the criminal nature of the enterprise to ensure the money was not obtained by you and your co-conspirators.
”Motor insurance fraud is a widespread crime and costs millions every year which is passed on to law abiding road users.
“This crime is difficult to detect.
”In this case it was detected by good police work and because many criminals are inherently very stupid, particularly in this case the moron who filmed the staging of this fake accident.
“You have only one very minor matter of dishonesty on your record.
”However, I’m entirely satisfied that this is so serious that only a prison sentence is appropriate.”