Rogue PIs found guilty of illegally snagging personal financial info

Passed data to loss adjusters, who shared it with insurer client

Staff at a firm of loss adjusters and two rogue private investigators the biz hired have been found guilty of data protection offences.

A jury at Maidstone Crown Court returned 15 guilty verdicts in a case brought by the Information Commissioner's Office as part of a wider investigation into corporate use of dodgy gumshoes.

The defendants were charged with unlawfully obtaining a person's financial details – including their bank transaction – and handing it over to Kent-based Woodgate and Clark Ltd.

The loss adjusters then blabbed the info to an insurer that was a client, a crime the ICO said it was this week found guilty of.

The two PIs hired by the firm – Daniel Summers and Adam John Spears – were each found guilty of two counts of unlawfully obtaining personal data and two counts of unlawfully disclosing personal data.

Colum Tudball, senior loss adjuster at Woodgate and Clark, was found guilty of two counts of unlawfully obtaining personal data.

The firm's director, Michael Woodgate, was found guilty of two counts of unlawfully disclosing personal data and one count of unlawfully obtaining personal data

The ICO's investigation began in 2013 after the Serious Organised Crime Agency gave it a list of blue-chip clients of criminal private investigators.

"The illegal trade in confidential personal information threatens people's privacy and security and it's right that the actions of those involved should be punished," said Stephen Eckersley, head of enforcement at the ICO.

The defendants will be sentenced on January 5. ®

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