Jail for scam artist who fleeced fight club of £180,000
JAILED: Paul Griffin.
POLICE have welcomed a three-year jail term for a scam-artist after a laborious and complex four-year investigation.
Paul Griffin fleeced a martial arts organisation of more than £180,000, leaving about 60,000 amateur fighters uninsured against injuries.
He was hired by Chaddesden-based Amateur Martial Arts Association to be in charge of organising insurance policies for its members.
The group provided students and instructors in karate, judo and many other martial arts across the country with insurance cover and grading exams and competitions.
Sergeant Matt Carson, who led the inquiry, said: "This was a long and laborious case to prove, so it is satisfying that the people involved now have at least some sort of sense of justice.
"One of the biggest challenges was going through all the data we received and recovered."
He said that this included all the information and details of members of the association that had been sent through to Griffin to be underwritten.
Sgt Carson said: "This was a mammoth task as all the records were held on hard copy and had to be inputted one by one and furthermore a full analysis then had to be done to see who was and wasn't covered.
"The most worrying thing about the case was that of the 63,369 members put through by the association to Griffin, 60,281 were not insured or insured correctly, which meant they had no cover at all."
During sentencing, Derby Crown Court heard that between 2001 and 2004 Mr Hibbert hired Griffin, of Essex, to take out cover for about 65,000 of the group's members.
But despite taking more than £250,000, Griffin took out insufficient covers, leaving about 95% of members uninsured.
But Tom Hibbert, 85, who set up the association 40 years ago, said all claims were met.
Mr Hibbert, of Chaddesden Lane, explained: "Sometimes Griffin would meet them. He would be deciding whether to pay out or not – after all, he had enough money to do that.
"Or I would pay out myself and ask him for a refund.
"But although we had no idea what Griffin was doing, we made sure every claim was met."