horwich farrelly

Holiday Sickness Claims Shark Gets 12 Months in Prison

August, 2, 2019

After several years of in-depth investigation – by investigative journalists, Merseyside Police, leading specialist insurance law firm, Horwich Farrelly and Jet2holidays – wholesale holiday sickness fraud has been put to a stop as years of bogus claims by a ‘no-win-no-fee’ claims shark were uncovered. Brian Cromby, age 34 from Liverpool, was sentenced to 12 months in prison after being found guilty of intentionally assisting in the commission of an offence contrary to section 44 of the Serious Crimes Act 2007.

Cromby is a serial fraudster specialising in holiday illness scams, who would drum up business by persuading holidaymakers to put in false claims in order to receive a pay-out. His actions were famously exposed in 2017 when an undercover journalist filmed him bragging that “most of my clients were not sick”.

Horwich Farrelly and Jet2holidays first became aware of Cromby’s fraudulent actions when they were investigating a family who involved their own children in a fraudulent holiday illness claim. Michael Jameson (43), his partner, Claire Weir (35), her sister, Jane Weir (38) and their mother, Janet Weir (63) all from Liverpool were each sentenced to three months in prison, suspended for two years after admitting to concocting a fake claim for gastric illness to win compensation.

Upon investigation it emerged that Brian Cromby was friends on Facebook with Michael Jameson, which immediately provided a link to his fraudulent activity.

Cromby was previously charged with holiday insurance fraud following an undercover investigation and two charges of fraud by misrepresentation under the Serious Crime Act 2007. After several years of in-depth investigation by Horwich Farrelly, investigative journalists and Jet2holidays, Cromby was found guilty of intentionally assisting in the commission of an offence contrary to section 44 of the Serious Crimes Act 2007, on Friday 26 July 2019 at Liverpool Crown Court.

In his comments, Judge David Aubrey, QC, told Cromby, who had set up a firm, RTA Solutions, in 2014 to find clients and direct them to lawyers to pursue the claims: “You were rumbled by investigative reporters and you were rumbled plying a dishonest trade under the guise of a legitimate business. The truth is it was a sham. It was a scam and at the very least it was promoting or encouraging dishonest civil claims.

“What you were intending was to persuade another to dupe, deceive, swindle, defraud a travel company by making representations relating to potential holiday sickness, when in truth you were promoting dishonest. You had set up a claims business called RTA Solutions, but it had nothing to do with solutions. It was to do with promoting dishonest civil claims.”

Jet2holidays CEO Steve Heapy said that, together with cross–agency support from Merseyside Police, Horwich Farrelly and investigative journalists from the Mail on Sunday, his organisation had: “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’re 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.”

Similarly, Clive Myerscough, Merseyside Police fraud investigator, said: “Cromby is a calculating individual who actively persuaded others, many of whom had no previous convictions, to become involved in his criminal enterprises.”

Commenting on the case, David Scott, Fraud Partner at Horwich Farrelly, said: “We are thrilled at the outcome of this case.  It’s been all too easy for ‘professional enablers’ and ‘no-win-no-fee’ sharks like Brian Cromby to leave holidaymakers suckered in by the promise of an easy pay-out to suffer the consequences of their actions.

“Jet2holidays has taken a zero tolerance approach to this endemic threat which is reported to be costing the travel sector £50 million per year and Horwich Farrelly has worked hard to help the holiday company stamp it out. We will continue to work alongside the industry to combat these claims and ensure that honest holidaymakers do not fall into the traps of unsolicited scams.

“It has been widely reported that there has been a sharp increase in the number of people claiming they had fallen ill on holiday and it is suspected many are fraudulent claims. People like Cromby who encourage holidaymakers to make fraudulent claims against the travel industry also risk undermining genuine holiday sickness claims.

“I hope his sentencing sends out a clear message to anyone thinking about making a fraudulent claim that they put themselves at risk of prosecution, a criminal record and even time in jail.”

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