A MAN previously sentenced for his part as one of the masterminds behind a large scale crash for cash scam has paid £155,000 to bring the case to a final conclusion.

Following a hearing at Newcastle Crown Court in August, Paul Jonathan Wright was given a £90,000 confiscation order as well as being ordered to pay £15,000 towards the hearing and £50,000 towards the legal aid bill within 28 days – or face a further five years in prison.

Wright officially paid back the money yesterday.

In March 2013, 60 gang members were pleaded guilty to fraudulent offences. The scam was uncovered by a major investigation, led by Durham Police and the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), which identified 261 fraudulent claims.

The scams took place primarily in County Durham and involved crash for cash incidents in which fraudsters and their passengers were claiming for whiplash injuries.

It transpired that the scams were being carried out by a gang involving Paul Wright and other members of the Wright family.

As well as the fraudulent personal injury claims, Wright also capitalised on the scams through his auto recovery company, PJ Autos, based in Craghead, County Durham.

He used the business to invoice insurance companies for removing damaged vehicles from the scene of the incidents, as well as charging for hire cars and cross-hiring the same car out to multiple individuals.

“This large scale insurance fraud scam was one that affected an entire community and Paul Wright’s confiscation order, in addition to his original custodial sentence, serves to prove that insurance fraud is a serious crime that will not go unpunished,” said Jason Potter, IFB Head of Investigations.