Fraudster receives 30 months' imprisonment after selling bogus car insurance to Polish nationals
11 October 2021
A man from Cambridge has been jailed after selling fraudulent car insurance deals to Polish community members living in the UK.
Marek Complak, 51, of Almond Grove, Bar Hill, Cambridge, set up false or invalid car insurance policies by posing as a Broker for well-known insurers, in a scam widely known as Ghost Broking.
Complak used his familiarity of Polish language to target and exploit community members where English was a second language. He also employed agents to find more customers by falsely portraying a legitimate business and providing referral fees.
Complak was sentenced to two years and six months imprisonment for money laundering on Friday 8 October 2021 at Cambridge Crown Court following a four-week trial. A statutory surcharge was applied and proceedings will now commence under the Proceeds of Crime Act to recover the funds which were illegally obtained.
The outcome follows an investigation lead by City of London Police's Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED), which was supported by the Insurance Fraud Bureau.
Several reports of suspected insurance fraud had been sent to Action Fraud - the UK's national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre - where IFB investigators were then able to work with IFED to identify Complak amongst the agents he was employing.
In one instance, one of his customers-turned-agents, had been paid over £600 for making 14 referrals from her local area. Shortly after this, she revealed that she had been contacted by a number of these people who were facing policy issues, including two who had their vehicle seized for no insurance.
The investigation also found that Complak had been advertising his fraudulent services to Polish community members via Polish websites, social media, online forums and websites he created.
One of Complak's business cards targeting Polish speakers. Credit: City of London Police
Enquiries had found in several cases, genuine car insurance had been taken out for the customer but then cancelled shortly after a certificate had been provided. When questioned by IFED, Complak denied all wrongdoings and answered "no comment" to all questions.
Stephen Dalton, Head of Intelligence and Investigations at the IFB, said:
“Complak would shamelessly exploit vulnerable community members just so he could make a quick buck through their expense and distress. I’m pleased to say that justice has been served thanks to the collaborative efforts of City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department supported by the IFB and the insurance industry. I hope this serves as a warning to anyone who thinks committing insurance fraud is an acceptable means for making a living – they will not get away with it.”
According to the IFB, Ghost Broking scams have risen in recent years with younger people and vulnerable communities being of particular risk of falling victim. The scam not only leaves victims out of pocket, but facing prosecution for driving without insurance and having their vehicle seized.
The IFB urges anyone with evidence of a Ghost Broking scam to report it to its confidential Cheatline online or via 0800 422 0421.
Find out more about the case on City of London Police's News Centre.