Here’s another case of CCTV saving the day. Thanks to the wonders of video surveillance, a pub owner-turned-arsonist had been left with no choice but to plead guilty to fraud by false representation at Chester Crown Court.
The footage, collected by the investigation services team at claims management giant Sedgwick, showed Donna Tracey lighting a cigarette behind the bar of a Huntington pub in April 2017 and using it to ignite a paper napkin, which she then dropped into a bin. The subsequent blaze was the basis of Tracey’s fraudulent insurance claim, in which she pointed to a fault on refrigeration equipment as the likely cause of the fire.
Sedgwick’s probe, however, not only unearthed the video evidence but also shone a light on the claimant’s financial woes. It was found that she had been in violation of Section 216 of the Insolvency Act 1986.
“We were instructed by insurers to carry out detailed investigations into the matter and reported our findings to the insurer together with enquiries that had revealed the full extent of Tracey’s financial distress,” noted Sedgwick senior investigator Mike Cossins.
The bogus claimant was handed a prison sentence of four years and eight months for arson and insurance fraud.
“The court’s decision shows a firm stance against those attempting to defraud their insurers,” commented Steve Crystal, head of financial crime at Sedgwick. “Following the completion of investigations, it appeared Donna Tracey’s actions were deliberate, and she admitted this when challenged.
“Insurance fraud is a major issue and it was encouraging to see the court seeing it this way too.”