Phantom passenger jailed for whiplash fraud

National Express West Midlands has sent out a stern warning to fraudsters after a 25-year-old Birmingham man was jailed for contempt of court.

Joseph-Allen was sentenced to nine months after claiming damages against the Birmingham-based operator. The “phantom passenger” said he’d been injured in a crash involving a bus he wasn’t even on. 

In June 2015, Mykel Joseph-Allen saw a collision between a National Express West Midlands bus and a taxi on Soho Road in Handsworth. He then got on the bus and alleged that he had been injured during the collision. 

National Express West Midlands uncovered the scam when CCTV footage on the bus showed him boarding the bus after the collision. 

Peter Coates, Managing Director of National Express West Midlands, said:

"We welcome the sentence and the judge's comments - he said a clear message must be sent to those who pursue fraudulent claims, that the consequences will be a prison term.

"National Express will investigate thoroughly every claim against us. If they are found to be dishonest, we will take the appropriate action. Fraudsters should take note - just because you drop a claim doesn't mean that's the end of it."

Joseph-Allen spent over a year pursuing his claim, signing legal statements and liaising with claims handlers, lawyers and medical experts. It wasn’t until he was presented with the CCTV footage surveillance evidence that he dropped his claim - one month before the case went to trial. 

National Express West Midlands then brought a claim against him for contempt of court, leading to his sentence of nine months in prison.

Verinder Bedi, lawyer at BLM, represented National Express West Midlands. He said: 

“We are pleased with the outcome. It is important that the courts continue to take a hard stance against those seeking to interfere with the course of justice. 

“Would-be perpetrators wrongly believe that bringing claims like these have no impact upon the general public. The judge made it clear that these types of claims strike at the heart of the British justice system. He was right.”

Published 31st March 2017