A former police officer has been handed a five-year sentence for stealing claims data in relation to a number of road traffic collisions.
Nigel Mungur, a former police officer with Lancashire Constabulary, and his accomplice, John Helton, a former relationship manager with GT Law, were sentenced for a number of conspiracy offences relating to money laundering, misconduct in a public office and computer misuse. Helton has been given a two-year suspended sentence and 300 hours of community service.
The ex-policeman’s wife, Nicky Mungur, who was also a police officer and played a role in obtaining data, was handed a 12-month conditional discharge for the offence.
In 2013 the Lancashire police professional standards department received a complaint from a member of the public about unauthorised disclosure of personal information after she had been involved in a road traffic collision and subsequently contacted by a law firm and asked if she wanted to make a claim for compensation. In 2014 a serving police officer experienced a similar scenario after he was knocked off his bicycle and reported the incident to the police as a failure to stop. Lancashire police’s anti-corruption team identified a serving officer, Nigel Mungur, as having accessed both incident logs. Further analysis showed that Mungur had accessed thousands of incident logs between April 2007 and April 2014.
Analysis of Mungur’s phone showed contact with other conspirators, including GT Law employee Helton, as well as a significant number of screen captures showing police logs and contact details for accident victims.
The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) worked with police and insurer members to link personal injury claims to the investigation. The IFB liaised with the exposed insurers in order to obtain further information to bring about the charges.
A police financial investigator assigned to the case identified that Mungur and Helton stood to benefit in the region of £363,000 from sharing the criminally obtained data. The payments received by Mungur and Helton were made by a number of law firms including GT Law.
The IFB said that there was no suggestion GT Law knew the data was misappropriated however GT Law have since gone into administration following a referral to the Solicitor’s Regulatory Authority (SRA) in an unrelated case of alleged malpractice.
Both Nicky and Nigel Mungur were then dismissed without notice from Lancashire Constabulary in March 2016 at a special case misconduct meeting.
Ben Fletcher, director of the IFB, said: “This investigation highlights that unauthorised data sharing can occur within any profession, but the IFB and wider industry remain vigilant to it and are committed to clamping down on those involved in this type of crime.
“The sentences handed down serve to show that this issue is being taken seriously. These individuals were trusted by the public to handle their data safely and securely, and this criminal behaviour for financial gain is abhorrent and one that will not be tolerated.”
Head of PSD (professional standards) at Lancashire Constabulary, Pete Simm said: “Once these offences came to light we instigated a full, thorough and proportionate investigation and took swift action to remove both the Mungurs from the organisation. I would like to reassure our communities that we will continue to act wherever we find malpractice and wrongdoing within Lancashire Constabulary. We will root it out to ensure that people can have confidence and trust in us.”