Using fake certificates to get cheaper car insurance

An Ashbourne woman who used a fake no-claims bonus certificate to get car insurance at a reduced rate has been spared jail time or a fine at Trim Circuit Court.

Alena Jones, 53, of Maple Drive, Ashbourne, pleaded guilty to using a false instrument to obtain insurance from Aviva Insurance, Galway on August 27, 2018.

Sergeant John Trimble told prosecutor Carl Hanahoe BL that in February 2019 the insurance company checked and found that Jones had offered a claim-free bonus certificate allegedly from AIG to take out insurance in August 2018.

Based on the false certificate, the defendant who should have paid €1,000 only paid €536.12.

Interviewed later by Gardai, the defendant said she paid a man found on the web €150 to obtain the fake document.

The garda said he then oversaw an attempt by the woman to retrace her steps on the internet to identify the man, but she was unable to do so.

Responding to Judge Terence O’Sullivan, the sergeant said Aviva canceled the defendant’s policy and refused to refund the money she paid them.

A defense lawyer said his client was left without insurance or money. The judge said the defendant was clearly not a career criminal and, given the unusual circumstances, applied probation law and ordered her to sign bond to maintain public order for a year.

Separately, Grigori Cerneaga, 37, Avondale Sq. Dunboyne pleaded guilty to submitting a fake bonus certificate to the Royal Sun Alliance in February 2020 to get a €917 discount on insurance which should have cost €2,115.54 €.

The court heard he had the insurance for a year before being detected.

When questioned by Gardai, the accused refused to reveal the identity of the source of the certificate, but said he had obtained the false document from a so-called online broker after obtaining his details from a Facebook group .

The defendant’s solicitor said his client had €1,000 in court as a token and Judge O’Sullivan, who applied probation law, ordered the money to be paid to Women’s Aid and compelled the accused to keep the peace for a year.

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Justin D. O'Neill