A SICK scam artist who exploited the Grenfell Tower fire, Manchester Arena Bombing and London Bridge terror attack to make fraudulent insurance claims has been jailed.
Ruksana Ashraf, from Merchiston, claimed to have lost jewellery and designer gear after being caught up in the tragedies –despite being nowhere near at the time.
In fact, the 44-year-old was lodging dodgy claims worth more than £175,000 from her family’s terraced home in Polwarth Gardens.
“It’s clear that Ashraf is a heartless and selfish individual,” said DC Pete Gartland, who led the investigation for the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department.
“She had no qualms in exploiting these tragic events to make a financial gain, showing no empathy for the families of those who lost their lives in some horrific circumstances.”
When investigators came knocking, she tried to hide with her stash of fake IDs behind a locked bedroom door.
Ashraf was jailed for three years at Inner London Crown Court yesterday after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to fraud by false representation and money laundering offences.
Her scams included:
• Grenfell Tower fire: three claims that she was visiting her family and her personal items had been lost in the fire.
• Manchester Arena Bombing: two claims, that she attended the concert with her partner and daughter but left items behind after fleeing.
• London Bridge terror attack: one claim, that she lost her personal items after being told to run away from the area.
Ashraf was flagged to IFED by insurance company Royal Sun Alliance (RSA) after its internal fraud team spotted similarities in claims made against different policies.
Despite each policy apparently being taken out by a different person with a different address, the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) were able to confirm Ashraf’s home address following a data protection request.
The group of bank accounts used to create the policies and receive funds from the claims were all the same.
Lots of the claims were similar in nature, with multiple claims for lost high value items such as jewellery and designer clothing, often from specific brands.
Ashraf was arrested and interviewed, but answered no comment to all questions and was released under investigation.
Paperwork relating to the fake policies and claims that Ashraf had made was found after a search of her family’s home – including fabricated receipts, fake driving licences and passports.
Ashraf took out more than 70 policies in total from RSA, Legal and General and Aviva and made over 50 fraudulent insurance claims of £179,000, with £50,000 being paid out.
John Beadle, Head of Counter Fraud and Financial Crime, RSA: “This woman ruthlessly manipulated insurance companies to feed her own greed.”