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InfoLawUpdate - Private Investigator fined £89,000

Burnetts' information law solicitor Natalie Ruane discusses a case where a private investigator was fined £89,000 for tricking organisations into revealing personal details about their customers.

An individual who was running a company that tricked organisations into revealing personal details about their customers was convicted at Isleworth Crown Court. He was ordered to pay a total of £20,000 in fines and prosecution costs as well as a confiscation order of over £69,000.

The individual, named Barry Spencer, ran a company called ICU Investigations Ltd with another business partner, Adrian Stanton. Mr. Stanton and five other employees were previously prosecuted in a trial on 24 January 2014.

ICU Investigations Ltd work on behalf of clients to trace individuals; normally for the purposes of debt recovery. The company routinely tricked GP surgeries and utility companies into revealing the personal data (usually by pretending to be the individual they were trying to chase). Clients of ICU included the likes of Allianz Insurance and Dee Water Valley.

Mr Spencer pleaded not guilty to conspiring to commit offences under s55 Data Protection Act 1998 (unlawfully obtaining personal data). If Mr. Spencer does not repay the confiscation order he will face 20 months in prison. As well as being fined Mr. Spencer will be disqualified as a director for a period of eight years.

The company, named as a separate defendant, was fined a nominal amount of £100.

About the author

Natalie Ruane profile photo

Natalie Ruane

Natalie is a Partner and leads the Employment Law & HR team and specialises in education.

Published: Thursday 5th June 2014
Categorised: Information Law

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