Member of ‘cash for crash’ scam found guilty

Michael Falkingham, 31, from Clos Y Berllan, Cardiff, has been found guilty of Contempt of Court relating to a claim for a false whiplash injury in a road traffic accident in 2014 when he wasn't actually in either of the vehicles.

Prior to a trial last week at Cardiff's High Court of Justice, Falkingham claimed that he was in the passenger seat of a Volkswagen transporter van when a council Ford Tipper drove into the back of the vehicle.

At the time of the collision, the transporter van braked sharply to avoid concrete blocks which slid off the back of a flatbed lorry. The only people that were in the transporter van when the collision took place were the driver and two relatives.

As part of the bogus claim, Michael Falkingham went to the University Hospital of Wales to register his apparent injuries after the road traffic accident took place, even though he wasn't in either of the vehicles.


Acting on behalf of Cardiff Council's insurance company - Zurich Insurance - Horwich Farrelly Solicitors argued in court that there were five grounds of Contempt of Court in this case and that the actions of Michael Falkingham ‘were no less than barefaced lies which the defendant fully intended would interfere with the course of justice by resulting in payment of damages to him, to which he knew he wasn't entitled.'

In defence, Falkingham claimed that he didn't make the initial phone call to legal firm, Amanda Cunliffe & Co Solicitors to lodge the false claim. This was supported by an expert witness who gave her opinion that the recording gave ‘limited evidence' that Mr Falkingham was the speaker.

Following this initial call, which Mr Falkingham claimed wasn't him,a representative of Falkingham's solicitors visited his home where legal documents were signed by Michael Falkingham to move the claim forwards. As Falkingham began to receive telephone calls, he elected not to pursue his claim as, in his words it was ‘morally wrong'.

Zurich, acting on behalf of Cardiff Council served proceedings on Michael Falkingham. Following this a series of recorded telephone calls took place between Falkingham and Horwich Farrelly, where Falkingham admitted that it was both ‘a dodgy claim' and a ‘cash for crash claim'.

Having considered the evidence over a two day trial, the Court found Falkingham guilty of Contempt of Court. Based on his early admission of guilt, the court handed down a four month prison sentence which was suspended for 18 months.

In sentencing, His Honour Judge Harrison said: "I am satisfied, so that I am sure, that Michael Falkingham signed documents for claims that he knew to be false and that by signing the documents, he was instructing his solicitors on matters that he knew to be false and knew would interfere with the course of justice.

Speaking directly to Michael Falkingham, Judge Harrison said: "You were very close to going straight to prison and it is only because of the extraordinary circumstance in this case that you have received a suspended sentence."

Cabinet Member for Finance, Modernisation and Performance, Cllr Chris Weaver said: "I would like to make it clear that all insurance claims against the Council are checked and double checked again.

"The fact that Michael Falkingham wasn't actually in the road traffic collision and still thought he could claim against the Council defies belief and we will continue to work with our insurance company to stop bogus insurance claims, which we have to all remember are at the expense of the tax payer."