The group were sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on Friday 25 February 2022:
- Ismaili Sari, 42, of Walthamstow, London, E17, was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, 120 hours unpaid community service, pay £100 in costs, pay £600 compensation to Direct Line Group and pay a victim surcharge for conspiracy to defraud;
- Pinar Govenc, 25, of Haringey, London, N15, was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, a 25-day rehabilitation order, pay £100 in costs, pay £61.50 compensation to Direct Line Group and pay a victim surcharge for conspiracy to defraud;
- Sultan Sari, 30, of Walthamstow, London, E17, was sentenced to 70 hours unpaid community service, pay £100 in costs, pay £61.50 compensation to Direct Line Group and pay a victim surcharge for conspiracy to defraud.
Detective Sergeant Phillip Corcoran, from the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED), said:
“This was a shameless and ludicrous attempt to defraud an insurer out of a substantial amount of money. Fortunately, Direct Line Group noticed discrepancies in the trio’s story before they paid out the full claim.
“The outcome reflects that fraudulent claims and cases like this do not go unnoticed by the industry or law enforcement, and we will work collaboratively to bring these criminals to justice.”
In June 2017, Govenc received a free two-year insurance policy with Direct Line Group when she purchased a new vehicle. The vehicle was fitted with a telematics system used to evaluate driving behaviour and records data of all journeys made and any impact to the vehicle.
On 3 May 2019, Govenc reported to Direct Line Group that she had collided with Ismali Sari’s vehicle whilst turning at a junction in Enfield earlier that day. Govenc stated that she was responsible for the collision as she had not been paying attention when the collision occurred.
A few days after Govenc reported the collision, Ismali Sari confirmed that he was driving the vehicle on the day of the collision. He also described the damage to the vehicle and claimed he was suffering with neck, shoulder and back pain as a result of the collision.
He also said that his wife, Sultan, was in the vehicle at the time of the collision and she claimed she was suffering from back pain.
The damage on Ismali Sari’s vehicle was assessed by a mechanic and the value of £10,500 was submitted to Direct Line Group as part of his claim. Ismali Sari also applied to hire a vehicle on credit due to his vehicle being written off as a result of the collision.
The couple completed a claim notification form confirming the injuries they had sustained as a result of the collision. Both claims were assessed up to the value of £10,000 each.
Direct Line Group reviewed the telematics system on Govenc’s vehicle after she reported the collision.
The system recorded a number of impacts on the evening of 2 May 2019 – the day before Govenc claimed she collided with Ismali Sari’s vehicle. Four of these impacts were recorded as high severity impacts while the vehicle was travelling at zero miles per hour.
The system also showed the next day when the alleged collision occurred, Govenc’s vehicle moved 0.06 miles towards the junction where Govenc stated the collision had occurred. The system recorded no further movement or impact on this day.
Govenc was questioned by Direct Line Group who said that the events did not match up with the data but she maintained that the crash happened when it did.
Direct Line Group paid out £732 in total but the claim could have cost them a further £48,220.88 – £17,500 for the two vehicles, £10,720.88 for the vehicle hire by Ismali Sari and up to £20,000 for the injuries the couple claimed they sustained from the collision.
All three declined to answer any questions during their police interviews.
Mike Brown, Head of Counter Fraud Intelligence and Disclosure at Direct Line Group, said:
“We know insurance fraud is not a victimless crime, this case highlights Direct Line Group’s zero tolerance stance on insurance fraud, by working in collaboration with our IFED colleagues we have helped to secure a significant conviction which sends a clear message to those who seek to commit fraud of this type.
“Direct Line Group is committed to protecting its innocent customers from paying the price of those who try to commit these fraud types, which could impact premiums and future policies, so we will continue to work hard to prevent these activities across our portfolio.”