A Brighton footballer scored an own goal while trying to make a dishonest insurance claim for Â£ 55,000.
Callum Saunders, 33, of Saltdean, has claimed he cannot work while playing for Haywards Heath FC.
But he did manage to score an impressive goal – so spectacular that he appeared on Sky TV’s Soccer AM show.
Law firm Clyde and Co was less impressed than experts and shared the footage at Brighton County Court.
As a result, Saunders was landed with a financial penalty – an invoice for Â£ 5,000 for legal fees.
Clyde and Co said, âFor a non-league footballer, seeing one of his goals broadcast on Soccer AM television is a dream come true.
âBut for Callum Saunders of Haywards Heath FC it was the start of a nightmare as it allowed insurance investigators to prove his allegations of a debilitating foot injury were a lie.
âSaunders, 33, Haywards Heath FC striker from 2015 to 2019, was trying to claim more than Â£ 55,000 for injuries after being involved in a traffic accident in March 2017.
However, his appearance on Soccer AM on Sky TV when he scored a goal from the halfway line was one of the pieces of evidence presented to the Brighton County Court to prove that Saunders was exaggerating the extent of his injuries.
âIn the video, he kicked the ball with his right foot, the foot he claimed was injured.
The cleanest strike you’ll see all day! He absolutely caught the goalie there ð pic.twitter.com/dvqkPeCQiP
– Football AM (@SoccerAM) February 7, 2019
âA month after the Marine Parade crash in Brighton, Saunders claimed foot injuries prevented him from working as a freelance plasterer or playing football.
However, insurance investigators working for the other party involved in the traffic accident found that in April Saunders was filmed playing for Haywards Heath FC in the match in which they won. the Southern Combination Football League championship.
âSaunders social media accounts contained several posts and tweets about his appearances for Haywards Heath FC and on several occasions in late 2017 Hayward Heath FC’s own YouTube channel posted images of Saunders playing.
âIn February 2019, Saunders’ goal against Three Bridges FC aired on Sky TV’s Soccer AM show.
Shortly after the ‘miracle’ target, Saunders signed a document claiming he was ‘at a permanent disadvantage in the open labor market’, claiming Â£ 17,300 for that alone.
âWhile Saunders was away from work for a while, investigators suspect it was actually due to an injury he sustained while playing football.
âFaced with the evidence, Saunders agreed that his claim was fundamentally dishonest under section 57 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act, 2015 and accepted a court order to withdraw his insurance claim and pay 5 Â£ 000 fees.
“The investigation was conducted by the law firm Clyde and Co, which worked for the insurer Aviva.”
Damian Rourke, the Clyde and Co partner who conducted the investigation, said: âCallum Saunders may have been happy with his appearance in Soccer AM but in the end it turned out to be a huge goal against his side. camp.
âHaving constantly lied to increase the amount of money he thought he could claim, our investigation showed that he behaved dishonestly.
âLooking back, you have to ask him how he thought he would fare after constantly posting and tweeting about his football performances.
âThe law is very clear: if you exaggerate a prejudice for financial gain, the court can reject the claim and punish you. This is what happened to Callum Saunders. He was fortunate not to receive a prison sentence.
Rob Lee, Claims Manager at Aviva, said: âThis is a shocking example of opportunistic greed.
âSaunders clearly believed his minor injury claim was an open goal. What he didn’t count on was that Aviva was determined to fight fraudulent claims and stop fraudsters in their tracks.
âWe will prosecute and prosecute those who commit fraud to ensure that there are serious consequences, as Saunders can now attest.
âCases like this highlight the urgent need for whiplash reforms, which took effect last month.
âThe reforms remove financial incentives for those who might otherwise seek to exploit the system for their own benefit. “
Saunders left the Isthmian League Haywards Heath FC in 2019 and now plays for Horsham FC, which play in the Isthmian League Premier Division.
He’s not the only Callum Saunders making headlines. The other plays for Nantwich Town and is the son of former Brighton and Hove Albion striker Dean Saunders.