Vet Jailed For Insurance Claims Con

23 August 2013, 13:24 | Updated: 23 August 2013, 13:33

A veterinary surgeon who conned three insurers out of a total of almost £200,000, by making fictitious veterinary treatment claims for non-existent pets, has been jailed for two years.

Matthew Morgan had previously admitted to making a total of 53 bogus insurance claims to four insurers; Direct Line, Petplan, Pet Protect and one other, for dogs and cats that he claimed had undergone surgery between September 2009 and December 2012.

To make his claims appear authentic, the 38-year-old sent the insurers invoices from his then workplace, a veterinary practice in the Blue Bell Hill area of Kent. He then used the payouts to fund a lavish lifestyle that included expensive holidays and electronics.

Morgan came unstuck in October 2012 when his one and only claim to Direct Line, for surgery on a cat called ‘Jo', was identified as fraudulent and referred to the City of London Police's Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED), kicking-off a criminal investigation.

In an interview with IFED detectives on New Year's Eve, Morgan admitted that the claim to Direct Line was phony but said he had not made any other fake claims. But 15 days later (January 2013) Morgan telephoned Pet Protect to chase up a claim he had made for surgery on cat called ‘Dizzie'.

IFED detectives subsequently arrested Morgan at his then home in Foxboro Road, in the Redhill area of Surrey. They executed searches of his home and new work place, a veterinary practice in St. Leonards-On-Sea, East Sussex, where they found documents that led to them uncover other fraudulent claims.

IFED's financial investigator later examined Morgan's bank account and found payments from Petplan, Pet Protect and one other insurer totalling almost £200,000. Further interrogation of his account showed that every time money was received from an insurer he would treat himself.

Morgan was charged with, and later pleaded guilty to, four counts of fraud by false representation, in that he made 53 fraudulent claims to four insurers with a total value of £226,360.67.

Earlier today (Friday 23 August 2013), at the Old Bailey, Morgan was sentenced to two years for each of the four counts of fraud by false representation which will run concurrently.

DS Craig Mullish, who ran IFED's investigation, said: "Morgan was paid a good salary to help sick animals, but over three years he systematically abused his position to claim massive payouts for surgeries on pets that did not exist. His sole motivation was to maintain an image of being a successful vet through the portrayal of an extravagant lifestyle.

"Morgan's sentence highlights again how IFED is working with industry to bring insurance fraudsters to justice wherever they are and whatever they do.”

A Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons spokesperson said: "We have been liaising with IFED about this case for some time. Now that a conviction against Matthew Morgan has been secured and sentence handed down, we will raise an allegation against him and invite him to respond. The case, as a conviction, will then be passed immediately to our Preliminary Investigation Committee, which will be able to consider the details of the case and decide the most appropriate course of action.”