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Woman jailed for three years over fraudulent Grenfell and terror attack insurance claims

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A fraudster who exploited tragic incidents such as the Grenfell fire, Manchester Arena bombing, and London Bridge terror attack has been jailed for three years.

Ruksana Ashraf, of Polwarth Gardens, Edinburgh, was sentenced at Inner London Crown Court on Wednesday.

The 44-year-old woman pleaded guilty in October to three counts of fraud and one of possessing criminal property.

She made more than 50 fraudulent claims against three insurers, involving 74 policies.

Ashraf received over £50,000 but if all the claims had been paid out, it would have amounted to more than £179,000.

She submitted three claims regarding the Grenfell fire, stating she had been visiting relatives at the tower in June 2017 when the blaze started and had lost personal items.

Ashraf also told insurers she had been at the Manchester Arena bombing with her partner and daughter but left possessions behind when she escaped.

She also claimed she was present at the London Bridge terror attack and had also lost personal items when she ran away from the area.

In court, her crimes were described as “particularly disgraceful” exhibiting “wholesale dishonesty” and being “damaging to society”.

Other offences were similar in nature and involved false claims of theft and loss of luxury items such as jewellery and designer clothing.

She committed the crimes over a three-year period between 2013 and the summer of 2017, when she was arrested.

Hoardings in support of the victims of the Grenfell fire
Image:
Ashraf claimed she lost personal items in the Grenfell fire

Ashraf was caught when an insurance company notified similarities in claims that had been made against several different policies.

Despite each policy being taken out under a different name with a different address, the Insurance Fraud Bureau were able to confirm Ashraf’s home address.

A group of bank accounts used to create the policies and receive funds were the same.

Ashraf hid in her bedroom when officers from City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) executed a search warrant.

The judge at Inner London Crown Court described her crimes as “not just disgraceful but damaging to society”.

Detective Constable Pete Gartland, who led the investigation, said Ashraf had shown no remorse and described her crimes as “deplorable” and “despicable”.

“It is clear that Ashraf is a heartless and selfish individual,” he said.

“She had no qualms in exploiting these tragic events to make a financial gain, showing no empathy for the families of those who lost their lives in some horrific circumstances.

“Her fraudulent activity also impacts the general public, causing insurance premiums to rise for everyone.

“Insurance fraud is a serious crime and this case, including the sentencing, shows that it is not taken lightly by IFED, the insurance industry or the criminal courts.”

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