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It's haul over Meet the cigar smoking haulage boss who ran a fleet of 25 trucks on Irish roads using bogus insurance discs

Drivers working for lorry driver Edward Taylor's Donegal-based companies, Total Logistics Solutions and Nova Point, had no idea the insurance documents he had supplied to them were sophisticated forgeries.

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Edward Taylor was fined €15k for the scam.

Edward Taylor was fined €15k for the scam.

Taylor tells our reporter Patrick that his vehicles were insured.

Taylor tells our reporter Patrick that his vehicles were insured.

Taylor on the phone.

Taylor on the phone.

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Edward Taylor was fined €15k for the scam.

Meet the cigar smoking haulage boss who ran a fleet of 25 trucks on Irish roads using bogus insurance discs for an incredible THREE years.

Drivers working for lorry driver Edward Taylor's Donegal-based companies, Total Logistics Solutions and Nova Point, had no idea the insurance documents he had supplied to them were sophisticated forgeries.

It wasn't until several of the drivers were involved in accidents and had claims registered against them that the 'fraud' was discovered.

Gardai copped the scam in 2018 after they were contacted by the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland and told there had been a number of claims against the companies Taylor was running in Cleveragh and Portnason, Ballyshannon, and that the drivers were uninsured.

Subsequently, 13 of Taylor's drivers were brought to court on charges of driving without insurance but the cases were struck out after gardai said they accepted they had been unwitting tools in Taylor's deception.

Judge Kevin Kilrane, who fined Taylor a total of €15,000 at Sligo District Court on Thursday and disqualified him from driving for a period of six years, told the 46-year-old he had "hung his drivers out to dry".

He was operating what was described by the judge as a highly complex and fraudulent business that caused mayhem and chaos to his drivers, some of whom were involved in road traffic accidents only to discover the vehicles were uninsured and there were subsequent third party claims.

Claims

Three personal injury cases arose from accidents where there was no insurance cover, the court had heard.

Confronted by the Sunday World as he left court on Thursday and asked how he ever thought he would get away with the scam, a brazen Taylor told us the charges and evidence against him had been 'sensationalised'.

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Taylor tells our reporter Patrick that his vehicles were insured.

Taylor tells our reporter Patrick that his vehicles were insured.

Taylor tells our reporter Patrick that his vehicles were insured.

"It's not what you were led to believe, not at all, far from it," he huffed, minutes after handing over a €15,000 bank draft to the court in lieu of a 20-month jail sentence.

"It was dramatised and sensationalised.

"I admitted to the charges in lieu of the drivers getting a plea agreement."

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Despite Taylor's efforts to diminish his responsibility, clear evidence had been given in court detailing the mechanics of the scam.

Sergeant Gerard Murphy told the court Taylor had equipment at his base in Cleveragh Industrial Park and Portnason, Ballyshannon, Co Donegal to alter insurance discs where he operated Total Logistics Solutions and Nova Point from.

Officers also discovered 50 insurance policies where copies had been made so it could mislead drivers, gardai and others.

Total Logistics Solutions had since stopped trading but Nova Point had since been taken over and is being run by a former business partner and is operating efficiently.

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Taylor on the phone.

Taylor on the phone.

Taylor on the phone.

Sergeant Murphy was praised by the judge for doing "Trojan work, difficult work to try to unravel this mess".

The judge said Taylor was operating a business based on fraud and had several previous convictions for road offences but he didn't learn from those and kept operating.

Taylor was using different names, including Edward Taylor, Edward Jason Taylor and even Sir Edward Taylor, but Sergeant Murphy added he was not sure if the defendant was a Sir or not.

Quizzed by the Sunday World as to whether he had ever received a knighthood that would allow him to refer to himself as 'Sir', Taylor said: "I have no idea where that came from, no idea. You'd have to ask Sergeant Murphy."

In evidence, Sergeant Murphy also told how he had seized numerous discs and followed up with insurance companies to see if they covered the vehicles and all verified the drivers were not insured.

Worthless

Taylor, the court heard, had also taken out policies in Bulgaria, even though none of his vans were ever based there and the cover obtained was worthless here.

Sergeant Murphy said he had to do 'painstakingly slow enquiries' with authorities in in Eastern Europe as some of the insurance certificates were Bulgarian, and he had worked alongside the Bulgarian police to find out that the certs 'were not worth the paper they were written on.'

Sergeant Murphy said he was concerned and obtained a search warrant to search Taylor's business premise in Cleveragh on April 16, 2019 and other units from An Garda Siochana did the same in Ballyshannon.

He said discs were found that had been tampered with and interfered with - some of the dates had been changed.

Sergeant Murphy said Taylor had effectively run a haulage company for three years with no valid insurance.

He said there were doctored certs that were reasonably good discs on the windows of the vehicles.

He said in one case, driver Deane Vance (43) had not been told that he had been disqualified from driving in Tuam court in September 2018.

Disqualified

While he was employed by Taylor and Nova Point, he was never told by Taylor he was disqualified, who continued to allow him to drive while disqualified.

Sergeant Murphy said Mr Vance was like 'a man waking from a bad dream' when he was informed that he was disqualified.

He said Taylor has since handed over his business to one of his associates who it seemed was not to blame in any way and had co-operated fully with gardai.

He said the company known as Nova Point was now well insured and well run and Karl Lafferty, who was a business partner of Taylor's, had co-operated greatly with gardai and was one of many whom Taylor 'led on a merry dance'.

Defending solicitor, Mr Tom MacSharry, told the court his client wanted to make sure that all his drivers were not prosecuted if possible.

He said in relation to the Bulgarian insurance, if the vehicles had been in Bulgaria then they would have been covered.

Asked about Taylor's past, Mr MacSharry said his client had gone to boarding school in Dublin and then worked in Papua New Guinea before moving to Scotland and returning to Ireland in 1998.

He said Taylor has four children aged from six to 25 and one of his children was in bad health.

He said Taylor had three strokes and had spent 48 days in the Acquired Brain Injury unit.

He admitted falsifying the discs.

Mr MacSharry asked Judge Kilrane not to send Taylor to prison.

He said he was a man who had built up a massive business and lost it all. He was not working and in poor health. He also had quite a substantial liability to Revenue, which he may never pay off.

At Thursday's sentencing hearing, Judge Kilrane convicted Taylor of driving without insurance, exhibiting an imitation insurance disc, exhibiting a false registration document, a second count of no insurance, and employing a driver without a driving licence.

Breach

Disqualifying him from driving for a period of six years, he also fined him a total of €8,800, adding the balance of the €15,000 Taylor had brought with him to court in lieu of a mooted 20-month jail sentence, would go to a charitable purpose.

"Mr Taylor," he said, "this was a shocking episode of a breach of road traffic legislation and you dragged in numerous hard-working drivers."

Speaking after the case, and despite his plea of guilty, Taylor told the Sunday World: "I'm just happy all the staff are OK.

"I paid for my insurance every year. It's unfounded information."


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