Innocent Bradford motorists have been blacklisted by insurance companies after becoming victims of a fraudster.
Scores of drivers unwittingly drove without insurance after falling for the scam.
'Ghost broker' Razwan Iqbal tricked more than 100 Asian motorists in Bradford and Leeds into buying invalid car insurance by posing as a legitimate broker.
Iqbal operated under a company name, ‘Direct Car,’ advertising cheaper premiums in local restaurants and visiting customers’ homes to flog his fraudulent policies.
He made £45,000 from the scam and duped motorists have since found it extremely difficult to buy legitimate insurance after being blacklisted.
Iqbal, 33, obtained genuine insurance policies from insurers, using false personal details to get the premiums at a cheaper price. He then charged drivers more than the premium, plus a handling fee. The insurance was immediately invalid because misinformation had been given to the insurer at the point of sale.
The scam was exposed when insurance company 1st Central discovered 41 policies were linked to an identical email address, and referred the case to police.
Some of the policies were found to have been purchased from the insurers with bank cards belonging to Iqbal.
Iqbal, of Upland Grove, Oakwood, Leeds, pleaded guilty at Leeds Crown Court to five counts of fraud by false representation and one of money laundering and was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.
After the case, Detective Constable Jamie Kirk, who led the investigation, said: “Iqbal devised a car insurance scam that saw him pocket tens of thousands of pounds by specifically targeting members of his own community.
“He left his victims unknowingly out on the road with no insurance, exposing them and other drivers to risk and financial loss with seemingly no care for the potential consequences of his actions.”
Glen Marr, director of fraud at 1st Central, said: “Our fraud prevention defences successfully identified this ghost broker and we are pleased he has now been brought to justice.
Confiscation proceedings have begun to recover money Iqbal made through his ‘ghost broking’ scam.
Anyone who believes they have fallen victim to insurance fraud should contact Action Fraud.
Information on suspected ghost brokers can be reported confidentially through the Insurance Fraud Bureau’s Cheatline, 0800 422 0421.