Stratford man who tried to eat evidence of fraud sentenced

Inner London Crown Court. Picture: Google

Cormac McCollum was sentenced at Inner London Crown Court on Monday, May 24. - Credit: Google

A man who tried eating evidence to evade police investigating fraudulent travel insurance claims has been sentenced.

Cormac McCollum of Legacy Tower, Great Eastern Road, Stratford, imitated his dad and partner as part of a £22,000 fraud.

Det Con Stuart Osborne said: "McCollum’s guilt was evident from the moment officers stepped into his home and he attempted to destroy incriminating evidence by eating it."

According to City of London Police, a travel insurance policy was purchased from Direct Line under McCollum’s partner's name in November 2017, the day before the policyholder was supposedly due to travel to the USA.

McCollum, pretending to be his partner, later called to report undergoing surgery abroad for an ear injury.

He claimed to have paid £13,244 upfront and was looking to recover the money.

McCollum provided the insurer with an airline's e-ticket receipt, an invoice from a Florida hospital, a signed medical certificate and bank statement.

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But checks with the hospital revealed no record of the treatment. The receipt and bank statement were fakes.

His Northern Irish accent indicated the calls were made by McCollum, who grew up in the region.

In a search at his home, McCollum tried destroying evidence by eating it, before officers restrained him.

Alongside evidence of involvement in the claim under his partner’s name, police found a medical form for McCollum’s mother.

Direct Line confirmed a payment of £8,877 had been made for a claim under a policy linked with McCollum’s parents.

Pretending to be his dad, McCollum had contacted Direct Line to report his wife having gall bladder surgery in Florida with treatment paid upfront. Documents supporting the claims were found to be forgeries.

McCollum admitted the offences during his second police interview and confirmed neither his family nor partner were involved.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of dishonestly making false representation to make gain.

McCollum was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for eighteen months; 150 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £8,000 within 90 days at Inner London Crown Court on Monday, May 24.

Mike Brown, head of counter fraud intelligence at Direct Line, said: "We are delighted the perpetrator of this fraud has been brought to justice."