Jail for fraudster who was both accident victim and lawyer

Crash: Claim was a fraud

A former government lawyer who used multiple identities in order to play the victim of a motor accident and then legally represent the other driver has been jailed for eight months for contempt of court.

Muhammad Bilal, 36, of Hayes, Middlesex, claimed compensation for whiplash-type injuries sustained when he was apparently involved in an accident with Adnan Shah in Hayes in 2014.

Mr Shah’s insurer, AIG, refused to pay the claim as they believed the accident was staged.

Mr Bilal’s multiple identities and a “complex web of connections” between the pair were uncovered by AIG’s solicitors, Clyde & Co.

According to the firm, Mr Bilal – who maintained throughout that he did not know Shah – also moonlighted as a paralegal for Lawgate Solicitors in Slough whilst working for the Government Legal Department; his LinkedIn profile says he is a legal executive officer, and previously studied the Bar Vocational Course. But the firm said his actual qualifications were unclear.

It was through Lawgate that he sought to legally represent Mr Shah in a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service about the insurer’s refusal to pay his claim.

In 2016, the ombudsman found in favour of Mr Shah and asked AIG to pay for damage to his vehicle plus an additional £1,250.

In support of his claim that Mr Shah had instructed Lawgate by chance, Mr Bilal produced a witness statement purportedly from the firm’s principal, but he failed to attend court to give evidence.

During lengthy email exchanges with Clyde & Co, Mr Bilal repeatedly denied using the name Bilal Toor and representing Mr Shah until he was presented with a copy of his own business card that he had posted on social media.

During cross-examination, Mr Bilal admitted he had lied to Clyde & Co, but continued to insist that the claim was genuine and that he did not know Mr Shah before the accident.

After acting for Mr Shah, Mr Bilal then launched his own personal injury claim in May 2016, but it was struck out at Uxbridge County Court in November 2017 after he failed to pay the hearing fee. Clyde & Co said this was because it provided evidence of the link between the two.

In his ruling earlier this month on the application to commit Mr Bilal for contempt, His Honour Judge Gargan found that the accident was staged and that Mr Bilal had lied in a number of documents when he asserted that he did not know Mr Shah.

The judge did not accept that the Lawgate connection was coincidental, finding it incredible that Mr Bilal just happened to work not only on Mr Shah’s case but the very accident in which he himself had been involved.

Clyde & Co partner Damian Rourke said: “This is an unusual case as Muhammad Bilal continued to protest his innocence and contested a final hearing at the High Court. Bilal put up an aggressive defence and so we are delighted that the judge agreed with us and found the claim to be a fraud.

“Bilal worked in the legal system and clearly believed he was clever enough to dupe it. Evidently, he’s not as smart as he thought.”

Leave a Comment

By clicking Submit you consent to Legal Futures storing your personal data and confirm you have read our Privacy Policy and section 5 of our Terms & Conditions which deals with user-generated content. All comments will be moderated before posting.

Required fields are marked *
Email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Our latest special report, produced in association with Temple Legal Protection, looks at the role of after-the-event (ATE) insurance in commercial litigation post-LASPO. We are at a time when insurers, solicitors, clients and litigation funders work ever more closely to create funding packages that work for all of them, with conditional fee and even damages-based agreements now part of many law firms’ armoury.


16 January 2020

Making Tax Digital throws spotlight on outdated legal IT systems

The first year of Making Tax Digital for VAT, known as the soft landing period, ends this April. During these first 12 months, firms without a compliant legal accounts package have used bridging software.

Read More

Loading animation