Flat manager, 42, admits three-year insurance scam
PUBLISHED: 16:00 13 January 2012 | UPDATED: 16:32 13 January 2012
THE owner of a Weston flat has spoken of his 'disgust' for his former block manager who has admitted stealing more than £2,500 in an insurance scam.
John McGrail, aged 42, pleaded guilty earlier this month to three counts of fraud carried out between July 2008 and July 2011 and two charges of forging insurance documents. McGrail, of Beach Road, Kewstoke, pocketed £2,730.62 during the three-year scam.
Appearing at North Somerset Courthouse in St Georges, McGrail admitted charging the flat owners money for insurance without actually taking out a policy.
Flat owner Stephen Harding told the Mercury he first became suspicious of McGrail when he had named the wrong insurance broker in a conversation after a car crashed into one of the garages at the block of flats at Crescent View Court in Upper Bristol Road.
Mr Harding had asked McGrail whether they ought to make a claim but, following McGrail’s slip, he started his own investigation into the policy and went to the police after discovering fake letters.
Mr Harding said if it had not been for the accident in November 2010, McGrail may have been able to continue with his scam.
He said: “With a computer you can do these types of things. Because I had done the job before I know when something is wrong. I was just disgusted with him.”
Magistrates ordered McGrail to pay back £2,815.62 to property owners of the nine-flat block. He was given a 12-week curfew and ordered to carry out 120 hours unpaid community service.
Mr Harding, aged 61, is warning other flat owners to keep a close eye on their insurance details to ensure they are not similarly duped.
He said: “I would check the validity of your building insurance and look very closely at your accounts in general. It is clear that he (McGrail) robbed us.”