Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Where are they now? Mr Patton

A few years ago I introduced you to a local rogue: Bernie Patton.*

For some time, his name kept coming up on the periphery of a disproportionate number of claims investigations. Vehicles he had sold from his unlicenced car dealership had a disturbing tendency to be later stolen.

However, Patton is the proverbial cat with more-than-statistically-probable lives and he always was able to play the system and minimise his involvement. His policy of deny, deny, deny has always served him well.

Until now, hopefully.

A recent claims investigation started out the same as any other. The claimant had purchased a caravan from Mr Patton several months earlier but had left the caravan at Patton's warehouse pending a change of circumstances.

Several months passed and the claimant contacted Patton as he had now moved to a new location and had room to place the caravan on the property.

"No worries," said Patton. "See you tomorrow."

Except the next day the claimant arrived at the warehouse to find the caravan gone, supposedly stolen that night.

Unlucky co-incidence, right?

Patton tells the claimant not to worry, that he will sort things out and alludes to knowing who was responsible. So the claimant does nothing and hears nothing from Patton at all.

He then returns to the warehouse to discover that Patton has up and left - no forwarding address.

Well, at this point the claimant contacts the police and then the insurer who appoint me to look into the matter, concerned that once again the name of Bernie Patton has come up in regards to a stolen vehicle claim.

Now, looking into the claim, I note that the caravan was registered as a 1990 model, twin axle. Except in the photographs supplied by the claimant clearly show a 1970s model, single axle, albeit in quite tidy condition.


However, the Bill of Sale clearly states that the caravan sold was a 1990 model - priced at $12,000, which you might expect for something around that vintage.

I managed to find an almost identical caravan and spoke with the owner, who told me that it was built in 1970 and he had purchased it for $5000. Looking at the photographs I had, he estimated that the claimant's was probably built in 1973 or 1974.

Not 1990.

So it would appear that Patton has falsified the details of the caravan in order to sell it as something it was not, at a greatly inflated price.

I am currently working on confirming the caravan's actual age and particulars and while the manufacturer no longer exists, it was incorporated into another firm in 1989 which is still going strong.

Once I get solid proof that the details provided by Patton when he registered the caravan in 2012 are false, we'll be looking at a criminal complaint being laid. And I feel that others may follow the further we dig and the more we find.

I also understand that a combined investigation with several other insurance fraud teams is quite possible, so that should be something to look forward to.

The thing about insurance companies is that they don't forget and they certainly don't forgive. And Patton has pissed them off one time too many.

* Not his real name. Actually, I'm highly tempted to name him but it would serve no real purpose and might only get me in trouble. Sadly.  

No comments:

Post a Comment