A fake sickness claim “broker” has been handed a 12-month prison sentenced after he was found to be persuading holidaymakers to make false compensations claims.
Brian Cromby, from Liverpool, would convince people to claim they had contracted food poisoning or other illnesses while they were on holiday and seek compensation before taking a cut for himself, Liverpool Crown Court heard. The 34-year-old was even found to be handing out business out cards at charity events which advertised his services.
Mr Cromby pleaded guilty to aiding or abetting fraud by false representation and was sentenced to a year behind bars by Judge David Aubrey.
Known to many people across the UK as the “fake sick man of Europe”, Mr Cromby would approach holidaymakers that had recently returned home encouraging them to falsely claim they had fallen ill due to food or the condition of the hotel they stayed at. He would then profit by taking a referral fee after passing people to solicitors.
His scheme was exposed during a Mail on Sunday investigation when Mr Cromby offered his services to two undercover reporters. The newspaper had worked with Jet2holidays, one of the package companies targeted by claimants, to tackle the rising problem of fake sickness claims.
Following Mr Cromby’s conviction, Steve Heapy, chief executive of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said: “Jet2holidays and the Mail on Sunday have led the way to stamp out the scourge of fake sickness claims, which was criminal fraud driven by unscrupulous claims management companies and individuals like Brian Cromby.
“We are delighted to see justice served, and although we have already succeeded in changing the law to deter bogus sickness claims, we continue to investigate all claims robustly and the courts will very clearly not hesitate to punish anyone engaging in such fraud.”
Jet2.com has been one of the leading voices in the fight against fake holiday sickness claims within the travel industry. According to the Ministry of Justice, claims jumped 500% between 2013 and 2016 as claimants took advantage of a legal loophole, after being encouraged by touts in European resorts.
In recent years, the government has been cracking down on false sickness claims by handing down harsher punishments to those found guilty of this practice. The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has also warned holidaymakers to be wary of individual or companies encouraging them to take make false sickness claims.
The organisation’s Stop Sickness Scams campaign aims to put pressure on the government to close the loophole and calls for a ban on Claims Management Companies making cold calls on sickness claims.
Read more about this latest development here – https://www.jet2.com/News/Fake_Sickness_Fraudster_Jailed/
Read more about ABTA’s Stop Sickness Scams campaign here – https://abta.com/tips-and-latest/abta-campaigns/holiday-sickness