PI insurance broker forced to pay back stolen fees

A Bury based insurance broker, who sold fake PI insurance certificates to a number of local law firms and a club has been forced to return more than fifty thousand pounds that he had swindled over the last few years, a court hearing in Bolton heard just before Christmas.

Clive Hesketh managed to get away with conning ten law firms in Lancashire and Wolverhampton out of nearly eighty thousand pounds by selling them fake professional indemnity insurance certificates as well as ten thousand pounds from an Ashton-under-Lyne social club. The amount will be recovered from the compulsory acquisition and sale of Mr Hesketh’s assets.

The case came to light earlier in the year and Mr Hesketh was arrested and convicted of the crime but the amount that he had to return in compensation to the businesses swindled has only just been determined. Hesketh, a 47 years old self employed insurance broker, was sentenced to a three year jail sentence in addition to being ordered to return part of the money that he had stolen.

All the illegal activity took place over an eight month period in 2010. Hesketh apparently gave out monthly credit certificates to cover PI and liability insurance to the parties mentioned above but the certificates were fake and Hesketh credited the monthly fees directly into his own bank account. His cover was blown when one of the law firms contacted the insurance company directly and was told that the PI insurance policy that they held a certificate for didn’t actually exist.

Unfortunately for the law firms they will only be able to recover about a half of the total amount they paid out for the PI insurance cover, which didn’t exist, but the social club will get back the whole amount.

The court case that has just made a decision on Hesketh’s case was heard under the Proceeds of Crime legislation.

The court case earlier this year heard that Hesketh specialised in selling professional liability insurance cover and was a trusted broker who had been in the business for many years. The defense counsel said on his behalf that Hesketh had been suffering serious financial problems since the beginning of the recession and had acted in desperation rather than out of greed.

The prosecution stated that the fraud had been a planned criminal act and it was only a matter of time before Hesketh was caught. The law firms were distressed to discover that their professional indemnity insurance cover was non existent and that they could have been ruined financially if a case had actually eventuated.

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