Pothole Fraudster Convicted

Published: 30 Nov 2018

A fraudster has been convicted for making a false insurance claim to Hertfordshire County Council following an investigation by the Hertfordshire Shared Anti-Fraud Service.

Robbie Beaton (45) of Dover Road, Walmer appeared at St Albans Magistrates Court on 27 November 2018 to face charges of fraud by false representation in relation to claims for damages made to Hertfordshire County Council.

The court heard that Beaton had falsified an invoice for work to support his damages claim against the county council in June 2017. He did this by increasing the value of repairs required as a result of damage caused by a pot hole in order to claim an Insurance pay out of £4,214.24.

Beaton made a claim against the county council stating that his vehicle, an Audi TT, had been damaged by colliding with a pothole as he travelled on Coursers Road, Hertfordshire.

The county council’s Insurance team became suspicious of the claim and the case was referred to the Shared Anti-Fraud Service to investigate. An investigation revealed that Beaton had taken his car to a garage in Hatfield to be repaired and had used documents provided by the garage to create a false invoice stating that the cost of the repairs were more than the true amount.

When he was interviewed Beaton admitted he had made a false claim and that he had falsified documents. As a result of the investigation his damages claim was withdrawn, which prevented any payments being made to him, and the case was referred for prosecution.

Beaton pleaded guilty at the first opportunity on the 27 November 2018. The Court heard that he was of previous good character with no previous convictions, he apologised for his actions and made reference to the fact he knew what he did was wrong. He was fined £1,600 and ordered to pay £2,000 costs in addition to £160 victim surcharge.

Councillor Ralph Sangster, Cabinet Member for Resources, said: “This isn’t a victimless crime; fraudulent activity costs Hertfordshire local councils an enormous amount and adds to the already severe pressures on local services. We will actively pursue those unscrupulous people who think that they can defraud the county council and steal tax payers’ hard earned money.”

You can report suspected fraud in the strictest confidence. For more information, and to report your concerns, visit: www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/spotfraud, email fraud.team@hertscc.gcsx.gov.uk or call 0300 123 4033.