A man has avoided jail after selling fraudulent motor insurance policies to over 900 unsuspecting victims.

Ikram Rafique, 31, of South Road, Romford, was found guilty of money laundering and acting as an unlicensed broker after a trial at Inner London Crown Court on July 31.

His cousin and former co-worker, Mohammad Hamad, 31, of Ashley Avenue, Ilford, was also sentenced for money laundering after he “rinsed the funds” obtained by Rafique.

Between January 2016 and December 2018, Rafique was found to have contacted many of the innocent victims and convinced them to buy policies with doctored logos on the paperwork.

A press release from City of London Police said that he asked the buyers to then transfer broker fees, between £200 to £300, into an account created by him under a false name - Qiuhong Chen.

An investigation by the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) at the City of London Police revealed that Rafique had since laundered the victims' money through a number of bank accounts, which included sending the proceeds outside the UK.

An analysis on the Qiuhong Chen account found that it received £302,036.71 in a 24-month period

The force said Rafique had more than 974 broker fee transactions in the alias bank account, totalling more than £208,200. A further 311 third party payments amounting to £73,913.55 were also discovered. 

Hamad too had reportedly received money into his own account from the Qiuhong Chen account.

Rafique was sentenced to 24 months in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 220 hours of unpaid work.

Hamad was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and asked to do 180 hours of unpaid work.

Detective Constable Chris Kench urged people to buy insurance policies from legitimate sources.

He said: “Whilst the offer of a cheap deal may be enticing, a fraudulent policy will end up costing you more in the long run in the form of a fine, points on your licence, your car being seized and crushed than covering the cost of a valid policy.”