Tesco has found itself ensnared in an elaborate “cash for crash” fraud scheme, where its drivers allegedly colluded with external parties to stage accidents, resulting in multimillion-pound losses for the retail giant.
Operating out of Tesco’s Greenford depot in west London, a group of around twelve drivers reportedly orchestrated over fifty orchestrated accidents. In these staged collisions, individuals would fabricate claims for vehicle damage, personal injuries, and hire car expenses, all billed to Tesco.
Complicit Tesco drivers purportedly received as little as £200 per crash for their participation.
Tesco’s suspicions were aroused when its investigators noticed patterns among claimants, such as vehicle repairs at garages registered at the same address and multiple claims filed through the same solicitor.
Legal representatives for Tesco estimate the involvement of over 100 individuals in this conspiracy, which unfolded between 2019 and 2020.
The fraudulent activity has come to light as Tesco pursues legal action against the drivers and their associates in 32 separate cases at central London county court. Judge Heather Baucher has ordered the perpetrators to reimburse Tesco for incurred costs, along with substantial exemplary damages, typically amounting to £18,000 per individual.
While the awarded damages in nine reviewed cases approach £400,000 collectively, the final sum is expected to be significantly higher.
Judge Baucher characterized the fraud as “unprecedented” in scale and condemned the perpetrators’ behavior as “outrageous”.
Tesco has welcomed the court’s decision but refrained from further comment, citing the ongoing legal proceedings.
The “victims” of these staged accidents, opting for accident management companies over insurers for claim filing, initially pursued damages in tens of thousands of pounds per incident.
Manish Parmar, one of the implicated Tesco drivers, admitted to his involvement in five staged accidents and disclosed his interactions with individuals named “Nik” and “Dee” who approached him during traffic delays near Tesco’s Greenford depot.
Another driver, Donovan Rose, faced legal action after reversing his van into a Mercedes in Denham. Rose vehemently denied the incident, exhibiting hostile behavior during court proceedings.
Tesco relied on various witnesses, including other delivery drivers and forensic engineers, to substantiate their case.
Mark Allen, from the Association of British Insurers, denounced such fraudulent schemes as hazardous to road users and costly to insurers, ultimately burdening consumers with increased premiums.
Ursula Jallow, from the Insurance Fraud Bureau, echoed these sentiments, emphasising the substantial financial toll inflicted by such scams.