Two married constables working for Lancashire Police were sentenced last month for stealing police data about car crashes and selling it to claims firms for £363,000.
An investigation began in 2014 after people complained they were getting calls from law firms when they had not given their details to anyone other than the police.
One man was even contacted by a claims firm before a police officer had arrived to investigate his report of a collision.
Nigel Mungur was sentenced to five years in prison and Nicola Mungur received a 12-month conditional discharge at Chester Crown Court. A third person, John Helton, was sentenced to two years in prison suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work.
According to the Crown Prosecution Service, over seven years Nigel Mungur accessed the personal data of individuals involved in road traffic collisions on 21,802 occasions.
He set up a firm called the Personal Injury Company and used it to sell the stolen police data to claims companies. When the company licence was revoked in early 2009, he applied to set up another, paying the registration fee with a cheque signed by his wife to avoid the application being rejected.
John Helton was a contractor for a claims firm who was paid on the basis of cases he referred to the firm. Nigel Mungur passed the personal data onto him and he would sell it to the firm. The pair would then share the money paid out.
Nigel Mungur would upload up to 960 screen shots of confidential information from the police computer at a time to a virtual storage site and share a link to the images with Helton. The information included the time, date and place of collisions and the personal details of people reporting incidents to the police.
Nigel Mungur also sent text messages to his wife referring to payments received and how much money they would make in the coming year. In one message he complained to her that he was the one “taking all of the risks”.
Nigel Mungur pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office and conspiracy to convert criminal property. Nicola Mungur pleaded guilty to obtaining personal data and Helton admitted conspiracy to convert criminal property and conspiracy to commit unauthorised access to a computer.
Senior Crown prosecutor Richard Riley said: “Nigel Mungur’s greed led him to take the leading role in stealing confidential information held on a police database and sell it for profit.
“Nicola Mungur was clearly aware of her husband’s crimes and encouraged, connived and acquiesced in them by turning a blind eye and the pair reaped the financial rewards.
“The public expect a high standard of behaviour from the police but the Mungurs’ conduct fell short of their duty and now they are paying the price.”
Meanwhile, two men were yesterday found guilty of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by trying to bribe a jury to return not guilty verdicts in a ‘cash for crash’ prosecution after an innocent passenger was killed.
Shahrear Miah and Abdilahi Ahmed were found guilty of the conspiracy charge at Leeds Crown Court after five other defendants – Raja Hussain, Jonaade Hussain, Waqas Ahmad, Zafarullah Ahmad and Jamie Lee Lawson – had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.
The CPS said their conspiracy concerned a trial of four other people for a ‘cash for crash’ insurance fraud.
The ‘accident’ was staged in Leeds in September 2014. The impact killed the 88-year-old passenger in the targeted car. Three of the four people were convicted of manslaughter, and all of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and conspiracy to defraud. They were sentenced to over 37 years in prison between them.
Senior Crown prosecutor Julian Briggs said the seven conspiracy defendants had offered £500 each to five of the jurors in the trial to return not guilty verdicts, or to disrupt proceedings to such an extent that a re-trial was forced.
He said: “Analysis of CCTV and mobile phone evidence obtained by the police enabled the CPS to show that the defendants had identified the jurors as they assembled outside court after the fire alarm had been deliberately triggered by one of the defendants.
“Having identified the jurors in this way, five of them were approached separately in a bid to persuade them to return specific verdicts.
“However, events did not unfold as the conspirators anticipated. The jurors immediately and properly reported to the Judge what had happened, the whole jury was discharged, and the verdicts were returned by the judge himself.”
The seven will be sentenced tomorrow and Friday at Leeds Crown Court.