UK: Leicester City Council benefits officer Umesh Gordhan jailed for £88k travel fraud

Umesh Gordhan

A Leicester City Council benefits officer has been jailed for fraud after claiming £88,000 by lying to travel insurance companies.

Umesh Gordhan took out multiple policies covering holiday cancellations and then falsely said he had fallen ill and was able to travel.

The 48-year-old was given a two year prison term at Leicester Crown Court this morning after admitting ten counts of fraud by false representation.

leicester crown court imagebotThe court heard Gordhan, of Meadowsweet Road, Hamilton, Leicester, had originally claimed he was a victim of identity theft and that someone had used his personal information to commit the offences.

Gordhan made the fraudulent claims between 2007 and 2011 but was caught after investigation by the insurance industry and City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED).

Gordhan sumitted claims stating that he had cancelled a holiday villa he had booked in Alicante, Spain, due to ill health.

He provided a variety of documents in support of all his claims, including medical certificates with a forged GP signature and flight and accommodation booking and cancellation confirmation.

His fraud unravelled when claims handling firm Intana discovered Gordhan had made almost identical insurance claims to a variety of insurers using the same personal information each time.

Intana referred the claims to IFED for investigation in April 2014 and Gordhan was arrested at his home under the unit’s nationwide ‘day of action’ against travel insurance fraud.

Detectives searched Gordhan’s computer found the documents he had sent to insurers to back up his claims. All of the documents were counterfeit.

Investigators found Gordhan he had spent the money he had fraudulently gained gradually over a five year period to support his lifestyle.

Police staff investigator Tony Freeman, who led the IFED investigation, said: “For years Gordhan lived a lifestyle more lavish than he could fund through his legitimate employment and so systematically conned travel insurance providers to get tens of thousands of pounds he was not entitled to.

“He did not think that anyone would check his claims but the work of insurers and the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department means his fraud has now been uncovered and he has been brought to book.”

Gordhan made claims to insurers AIG, Professional Travel Insurance, AXA, UK General Insurance, White Horse, Europ Assistance, Great Lakes, Chartis, Mondial Assist through several claims handlers.

He had tried to claim a total of £118,548.01 but was actually paid £88,503.64.

When he was challenged over two claims, to Great Lakes and Chartis, Gordhan repaid £9,298.98.

IFED has applied under the Proceeds of Crime Act to recover the remaining cash.

Intana’s fraud manager, Mathew Crawford-Thomas, said: “Gordhan had evaded justice for a litany of false claims that he had submitted over a number of years.

“We are committed to the rigorous pursuit of travel insurance fraud, including historic offences, on behalf of our clients and their customers.”

A Leicester City Council spokesperson said: “In accordance with our terms and conditions of employment, any member of staff handed down a custodial sentence will be subject to immediate dismissal.

source: Leicester Mercury

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