A South Wales man has been jailed for a year after using fake documents in a £300,000 insurance claim for damage to two catering vans.
Richard William Lewis of Llandeilo, Camarthenshire pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation on June 17 at Swansea Crown Court, which sentenced him to 12 months of imprisonment.
The court also ordered Lewis to repay £37,464 in costs to insurer NFU Mutual and pay £2,800 in court costs and £100 victim surcharge.
In August 2013, a neighbour’s tractor crashed into Lewis’s catering vans, which later caught fire that completely destroyed the vehicles.
Lewis claimed against his neighbour’s vehicle insurance, saying the two vans and equipment were worth over £167,000 while his lost earnings were around £150,000.
Lewis told a claims investigator from NFU Mutual that he had already sold the damaged vans to a local scrap metal dealer. Lacking the vehicle identification numbers, he provided two documents that were supposedly invoices from a manufacturer.
The investigator discovered that the invoices for the vans proved to be false and that Lewis had not purchased them from where he claimed.
When confronted, Lewis changed his story and claimed that he bought the vans from a traveller, whom he can no longer contact for verification.
Insurance fraud detectives from the London police later probed Lewis, who was arrested in March 2015.
“It’s clear that Lewis lied and went to great lengths to try and support his very large compensation claim,” said Detective Constable Aman Taylor of the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department.
“Anyone who has supposedly invested over £150,000 in equipment would have surely kept receipts, invoices or had some kind of record to show their true value,” Taylor added.
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