Fraudster ‘bishop’ Charles Motondo faked car crashes
A self-styled ‘bishop’ who impersonated the voice of a parishioner to fabricate a false insurance claim has been jailed.
Charles Motondo, 40, was popular among followers at the Grace Faith Ministries church in Leeds, where he preached high-octane sermons at three-hour Sunday services.
But he was arrested and yesterday jailed for fraud after insurers became suspicious about £12,000-worth of claims he made over supposed crashes involving his Range Rover.
Fraud specialists at the City of London police, who took up the investigation, discovered he had impersonated someone who he had earlier helped to buy a car.
Leeds Crown Court heard Motondo opened up insurance policies in 2016 using two false names. He then deceived Aviva Insurance and Mulsanne Insurance in claims he made.
Motondo, who moved to the UK from the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2005, was only uncovered on a third occasion when insurance company First Central found the damage to his Range Rover did not match the alleged crash.
Motondo used both his own and his partner’s bank accounts in order to access the illegally obtained sums of cash claimed for the crashes previously, the court was told.
Motondo made claims for crashes which never happened, insisting his Range Rover had been damaged
His partner Anette Ntumba, 43, also appeared in court alongside father-of-four Motondo after pleading guilty to a separate offence of benefit fraud.
The City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) were behind the long-running investigation.
They discovered Motondo – who receives Universal Credit – had contacted First Central Insurance and fraudulently bought a policy using the details of a person in his local community.
A few days later he called the insurers, pretending to be the policy holder, and said he’d crashed his Vauxhall Corsa into a parked Range Rover and took full responsibility.
A spokesman for City of London Police said: ‘The person whose details Motondo had used for this fake claim told IFED that the accident never took place and that the car wasn’t ever insured. They also revealed that Motondo had helped them buy their car.’
At Leeds Crown Court yesterday, prosecutor Ian Hudson said: ‘[The insurance company realised] the insurance policies had been taken out on the same day. The claim was not paid.’
A number of inconsistencies were uncovered in Motondo’s claim on October 14, 2016 and it was eventually rejected.
A forensic engineer said due to the height difference of the two cars, the Corsa could not have caused the alleged damage to the Range Rover.
The car had actually been stored in a yard at the back of a church at the time of the alleged crash – later identified as where Motondo delivered his sermons, the prosecutor told the court.
Investigators discovered Motondo had also used the same method a few months earlier to make a fraudulent claim for a fictional collision against Mulsanne Insurance in July 2016, the court heard.
On this occasion, he claimed his partner’s Jaguar and his Range Rover had been involved in the same collision in order to heighten the value of the claim.
Motondo tried to make an injury claim for a phantom passenger, but this was rejected by Mulsanne Insurance after they discovered his other fraudulent activity from First Central.
The person whose details Motondo had used for this fake claim told IFED the accident never took place and that the car wasn’t ever insured, the court heard.
They also revealed he had helped them buy their car.
IFED identified one other fraudulent claim by Motondo, which he’d instigated by calling his insurer Aviva in June 2016, stating he’d been involved in a collision that was his fault.
As he and his partner aren’t married and don’t share the same name, he contacted the insurers again pretending to be her husband and made a claim on her behalf for repair costs to the Jaguar.
Motondo, of Leeds, West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud by false representation and one count of possession of criminal property at Leeds Crown Court on April 18.
The claims he made amounted to more than £12,000, the prosecutor told the court.
Motondo moved to the UK in 2005 and has four children – including two with his current partner Ntumba.
He had a shop theft on his criminal record but was otherwise of ‘impeccable’ character, defence solicitor Michael Collins told the court.
Mr Collins said: ‘He is a pastor. He has acted in that role for 12 years. He plays a significant role in the community. He regularly meets with police and members of parliament on the basis to assist with members of his congregation.
‘He has told me of his embarrassment and shame of his conduct and has genuine remorse.’
Judge Tom Bayliss QC said his offences were ‘highly sophisticated’ and over a sustained period.
He said his initial admission that the insurance claims were a mistake was false and he had instead planned the fraud.
Judge Bayliss said: ‘I treat you as a man with impeccable character. The offences are serious offences of fraud. The total frauds amount to £12,804.23.
‘The culpability in this case is high. More than one person was involved but it is difficult to identify who they were. This was sophisticated offending. This was deliberate and persistent.’
Sentencing Motondo to ten months, Judge Bayliss added: ‘Those who engage in sophisticated fraud must expect to go to prison.’
Motondo, wearing a purple jacket and blue jeans, sat motionless throughout the hour long hearing.
Motondo’s partner, Anette Ntumba was sentenced for unrelated benefit fraud during the hearing.
She had failed to tell authorities she was working while claiming benefits. She was given 100 hours of unpaid work. — Daily Mail