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Insurance broker in commission scam must pay back £31,000

Insurance broker in commission scam must pay back £31,000

An insurance saleswoman has been given a suspended jail sentence after she deliberately mis-sold large numbers of corporate health plan policies in a £31,500 commission scam.

The case was investigated by detectives from the City of London Police’s insurance fraud enforcement department after internal investigators at Simplyhealth uncovered the fraud by one of their employees.

Jacqueline Buckmaster, aged 54, of Rumney, Cardiff, pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position and was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years.

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She was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay back £31,500 in compensation at Cardiff Crown Court on 24 June.

Buckmaster was employed by Simplyhealth as a sales executive covering the central Cardiff and Newport area between April 2011 and March 2014.

During this time, she mis-sold 44 health plan policies so that she could receive the commission payments.

She did this by selling health plans to members of the public which were only intended for employees of large companies that Simplyhealth had key account agreements with.

By entering into these agreements, a company’s employees are able to obtain health plans at rates not available to the general public.

Buckmaster was charged with the task of going into these companies and signing up eligible staff members – receiving commission payments for every person she managed to sign up.

However, in October 2013, Simplyhealth launched an internal investigation after they became suspicious of Buckmaster’s unusually high sales figures.

In effect, Buckmaster had been signing up members of the public, friends and family members to the corporate schemes for which none of them were eligible.

Further checks found she processed applications from people living more than 80 miles away from Cardiff and had even put through applications on days where she was supposedly on leave.

When Simplyhealth checked against the ineligible policies, they also noticed a high number of claims linked to a Cardiff-based optician, which led them to suspect Buckmaster was encouraging people to sign up to the health plan and then take advantage of the policy by claiming for glasses and eyewear.

In February 2014, the case was passed to City of London Police detectives, who carried out further enquiries, including financial investigations into her accounts, before eventually issuing a summons for her to face charges of fraud by abuse of position.

In total, Buckmaster pocketed in the region of £14,000 in commission payments from the fraud, and claims made on the mis-sold policies totalled around £18,000.

Detective Constable Louise Wager, from the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department, said: “Buckmaster abused the trust of her employer and thought she could get away with making thousands in commission payments linked to her fraudulent sales.

“Her greed was her downfall, and I hope others who may be tempted to commit fraud in this way realise that not only could you lose your job and career, but you could end up with a criminal conviction.”