Dec 6, 2017 15:55 GMT
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A family of six cuddled a crying baby in court as they were all handed prison sentences for their roles in a £100,000 'crash for cash' fraud conspiracy.
The group, from Enfield, north London, had taken part in a plot to pocket compensation for whiplash injuries in crashes which never happened and involved drivers who didn't exist.
Three fathers - Mehmet Yavuz, 36, and his brothers in law Salman Gulbudak, 32, and Hasan Sel, 30 - went from searching for a dummy for a sobbing child to being led away in handcuffs, after receiving immediate sentences of 16 months, 12 months and four months respectively.
Two mothers, Eylem Yavuz, 35, and Ayse Sel, 34, each received four-month sentences, suspended for a year, as did Mr Gulbudak's father Mato Gulbudak, 58. They were each also ordered to pay £9,000 in legal costs.
High Court judge Mr Justice Warby said that alarm bells were set ringing by 'the striking fact' of 'six members of the same extended family being victims of accidents in the space of just five weeks.
Both crashes involved eastern European cleaners from seaside towns in the south of England' as well as 'other remarkable common features,' the court heard.
In September 2011, Mr and Mrs Yavuz and Mrs and Mrs Sel all claimed to have been injured in a collision with another east European cleaner living in Margate, Kent.
Four almost identical claims had also been lodged with insurers, LV=, by other fraudsters during the same period.
Eylem Yavuz, 35, and Ayse Sel, 34, both received suspended sentences but three others were jailed for the scam
'To suggest that this is mere coincidence is stretching credulity to breaking point,' the judge said.
The judge told them: 'Each of you lied in an attempt to receive damages for losses never suffered. None of you admitted your guilt, but chose to tell more lies.
'The civil justice system is seriously undermined by lying claims,' the judge went on, adding that fraud adds an estimated £44 a year onto the price of a motor insurance policy for each honest driver in the country.
'The courts must emphasise how serious it is for somebody to make a dishonest claim', he said.
'However easy it is to make fake claims, the consequences will be disastrous if you are found out. The lives of yourselves and your families are likely to be ruined.'
The judge also told the court that Salman and Mato Gulbudak claimed to have been involved in a November 2011 crash on Addison Road, Enfield, with an eastern European cleaner, living in St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex.
Mehmet Yavuz worked as a black cab driver, Hassan Sel a shopkeeper and Salman Gulbedek runs an off-licence, the judge added.
An unrelated family of three who the judge found were also involved in a fraud conspiracy also received jail terms today.
Ercan Kaya was handed nine months immediate imprisonment, whilst Ayten and Gunes Kaya were each given four months, suspended for a year.
All of those dealt with were found to have 'told lies in support of conspiracies which amount to contempt of court'.
Speaking after the case, Clare Lunn, fraud director for insurance firm LV=, said: 'This is a great result for LV= and society.
'The gang all played their part in this crash for cash scam and worked together to stage several fictitious accidents. We're pleased that custodial sentences were handed down today and hope these criminals serve as proof that fraud doesn't pay.
'LV= takes this type of crime very seriously, we will investigate suspected fraud cases thoroughly and will not tolerate fraudulent activity; the sentences today reflect this.'