An agent working for a Countrywide brand in Lancashire has been given a suspended jail sentence after being found guilty of scamming an insurance company for £25,000.
Adam Reason, 40, exaggerated his inability to work in order to scam his insurer out of £2,000 a month through an Income Protection Policy - while at the same time undertaking three other forms of work which provided income.
A statement from the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department - which investigated the case - says this type of policy is intended to support individuals who genuinely cannot work due to injury or illness. It says that had Reason been successful in continuing his claims until the expiration of his policy, he could have conned £648,000 out of the Aviva.
At Preston Crown Court earlier this month Reason was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment suspended for two years, 150 hours unpaid work and a five day rehabilitation programme.
In November 2016 Reason contacted Aviva to claim on his policy, citing that he was unable to work his agency work due to illness, and confirming that he was not in receipt of any other form of income. The insurer arranged for Reason to undertake a medical assessment, in which he explained the impact of his condition, alleging an inability to perform simple tasks such as driving more than a short distance.
From 2017 to 2019, Reason received a monthly payment of £2,000 from the insurer. Over the course of the two years, he was required to complete regular reviews which confirmed that he had not been working and had not received any benefits that Aviva was not already aware of.
During this time, the insurer carried out background checks which quickly revealed that Reason – who was receiving regular benefit payments - was operating not just one paid business, but three, in and around Lancashire.
The information gathered during these investigations indicated that Reason had been travelling to work as a freelance photographer, providing services for commercial properties and weddings. Aviva established that Reason was not affected in the way he had described during his assessment, having travelled 275 miles in one day for a photography job. It was also discovered that Reason was being paid for providing guitar lessons and for his involvement as a lead guitarist in a band.
Aviva cancelled Reason’s policy and referred the case to IFED, which commenced investigations in May 2019.
At Reason’s home IFED investigators found items linking the fraudster with all three businesses. A key piece of evidence was Reason’s mobile phone, which held calendar entries for guitar lessons, photography work and gigs throughout the period in which he was claiming from his insurer.
An investigation into the claimant’s finances established that Reason had been in receipt of payment for the three businesses, with bank statements showing a total of almost £25,000 earned during the claims period.
Reason later admitted when questioned that he was also earning around £100 for each gig with the band, leading IFED investigators to estimate that he is likely to have received another £4,000 income from this.
IFED detective constable James Rafiq, who led the probe, says: “Whilst Reason claims to have found himself in a difficult position in which he was no longer able to cope with the pressure of his job, he should still have pursued other forms of employment legitimately.
“Instead, Reason exaggerated his inability to work to fraudulently claim tens of thousands of pounds from his insurer whilst juggling three other forms of paid work. Unfortunately, it is fraudulent cases like this which undermine the serious nature of genuine health issues and subsequent protection policy claims.
“Reason has been rightfully punished for his crimes and we are now seeking to retrieve the funds he stole through the Proceeds of Crime Act so that we can reimburse his insurer.”