Fraudster couple funded champagne lifestyle of exotic holidays and a plush home in 1million insurance and benefits scamElina Jaksone and Gagik Manucharyan exploited other immigrantsPromised to get them car insurance but lied to secure cheaper dealsCheated taxpayers out of 340,000 by failing to report earnings to HMRCSpent cash on holidays in Jamaica
Hugo Gye and Damien Gayle
13:09 GMT, 10 April 2013
01:04 GMT, 11 April 2013
An immigrant couple who enjoyed a champagne lifestyle have been jailed for what is believed to be the biggest car insurance scam of its kind in Britain.
Latvian Elina Jaksone and her Cypriot partner Gagik Manucharyan raked in close to 1million by duping hundreds of innocent motorists with a ‘ghost’ insurance scheme.
They offered cut-price insurance by using false details, leaving customers involved in accidents totally exposed and without any of the coverage they paid for.
Jailed: Gagik Manucharyan, left, and Elina Jaksone, right, have been imprisoned for defrauding insurance companies out of thousands and spending the money on holidays in destinations like Mauritius, pictured
They pocketed 100-a-time from the scam, raking in about 920,000 over seven years. They spent it on a luxury home, driving ‘his and hers’ Mercedes, enjoying five-star exotic holidays and even sent one of their children to private school.
Canterbury Crown Court heard the shameless pair, from Westgate-on-Sea, Kent, did not pay a penny in tax on their earnings of more than 130,000 a year and owed the Inland Revenue 340,000.
Jaksone, 36, also pocketed 82,000 in benefits to which she was not entitled by posing as a single mother and using her own mother’s details to falsely claim pension credits and the winter fuel allowance.
Judge James O’Mahony called the couple ‘greedy and selfish’ and ordered them to be deported after they had served their sentences.
Home: The immigrant couple bought this luxury house in Kent using their ill-gotten gains
Lifestyle: The fraudsters made enough money to send their son to an elite private school
He said they ‘couldn’t have cared less’ for the financial suffering of their clients left with void insurance. He added: ‘You have made a considerable amount of money but paid not one penny piece of tax.
‘You spared yourself little of the best things in life; expensive cars, holidays in Mauritius and Jamaica and private education for one of your children.’
Manucharyan, 40, was jailed for five years and two months and Jaksone, 36, for five years, for insurance and benefit fraud. The judge rejected a plea by their lawyers to spare them jail because they would miss their children, adding: ‘That misery is of your own making.’
More than 30 drivers who took out policies through the couple gave evidence against them.
The jury heard how the couple told clients they could secure discount insurance through their firm, then used false details to take out cheap policies with legitimate firms.
The couple pocketed about 100 in brokerage fees for each policy they arranged. The fraud came to light after tip-offs to the HMRC, and an investigation by the Serious Organised Crime Agency and Department for Work and Pensions.
After the trial David Margee of HMRC said the scam was the ‘largest of its kind’ in the UK, adding: ‘They cheated honest, law-abiding people, spending their ill-gotten gains on a lifestyle many of us can only dream of.’