Driver convicted for fraud after making false insurance claim over St Albans pothole
PUBLISHED: 16:58 30 November 2018 | UPDATED: 17:06 30 November 2018
A man has been convicted of fraud for making a false insurance claim to Hertfordshire County Council over a pothole in St Albans.
Robbie Beaton, 45, of Dover Road, Walmer, Kent, claimed his car had been damaged by colliding with a pothole in Coursers Road, Colney Heath.
He appeared in St Albans Magistrates Court on Tuesday, November 27, to face charges of fraud by false representation.
The court heard that Beaton had falsified an invoice for work to support his damages claim against the council in June 2017. He increased the value of repairs required to his Audi TT in order to claim an insurance pay out of £4,214.24.
The council’s insurance team became suspicious of the claim, and the case was referred to the Shared Anti-Fraud Service to investigate.
An investigation revealed that Beaton had taken his car to a garage in Hatfield to be repaired and had used documents provided by the garage to create a false invoice with the cost increased.
When interviewed Beaton admitted he had made a false claim and falsified the documents. His damages claim was then withdrawn, preventing any payments being made to him, and the case was referred for prosecution.
Beaton pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, and the court heard he was of previous good character with no previous convictions. He apologised for his actions and said that he knew what he had done was wrong.
He was fined £1,600 and ordered to pay £2,000 in cots, as well as a £160 victim surcharge.
Cllr Ralph Sangster, cabinet member for resources, said: “This isn’t a victimless crime; fraudulent activity costs Hertfordshire local councils an enormous amount and adds to the already severe pressures on local services.
“We will actively pursue those unscrupulous people who think that they can defraud the county council and steal tax payers’ hard earned money.”