On Friday 6th October Nigel Mungur, a former Police Officer with Lancashire Constabulary was sentenced to five years custodial, reduced from seven years for a guilty plea, and John Helton, former Relationship Manager with GT Law, was sentenced to two years suspended for two years and 300 hours community service for their roles in unauthorised disclosure of personal information following Road Traffic Collisions in 2014.
Mungur pleaded guilty in November 2015, while Helton pleaded guilty in September 2017, to a number of conspiracy offences relating to money laundering, misconduct in a public office and computer misuse.
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. The injured party had been contacted by a legal firm in relation to making a claim for compensation. Following this, in 2014 a serving police officer experienced a similar scenario after he was knocked off his bicycle and was contacted by a legal firm after reporting the incident to the police as a failure to stop. Lancashire Police Anti-Corruption Team identified a serving officer, Nigel Mungur, as having accessed both incident logs. Further analysis showed Mungur had accessed thousands of incident logs between April 2007 and April 2014.
As the investigation progressed searches were undertaken of the officer’s home address, personal vehicle and personal locker with evidence identified suggesting significant criminality. Analysis of the officer’s phone showed contact with other conspirators, including GT Law employee John Helton, as well as a significant number of screen captures showing police logs and contact details for accident victims.
The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) then worked with police and insurer members to link Personal Injury claims to the investigation. These claims were made to a number of insurers by various claimant law firms that Helton and Mungur were sharing data with. 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. There is 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.
On 30th November 2015, at a Plea and Case Management Hearing at Chester Crown Court, Nigel Mungur pleaded guilty to the following charges:
- Misconduct in a Public Office between 31 March 2007 and 30 April 2008
- Conspiracy to commit Misconduct in a Public Office with John Helton between 31 March 2008 and 30 April 2014
- Conspiracy to Convert Criminal Property with John Helton between 31 March 2008 and 30 April 2014
- Conspiracy to commit Unauthorised Access to a Computer with John Helton between 31 March 2008 and 30 April 2014
His wife Nicky Mungur, who was also a Police Officer and played a role in obtaining the data and was aware of Nigel’s activities, pleaded guilty to the following offence:
- Obtaining Personal Data up to and including 30 April 2014.
On 6th October 2017 she was handed a 12-month conditional discharge for the offence.
Both Nicky and Nigel Mungur were also dismissed without notice from Lancashire Constabulary in March 2016 at a special case misconduct meeting.
GT Law employee John Helton pleaded not guilty to all counts, and on the first day of the trial at Chester Crown Court on 11 September 2017, he pleaded guilty to:
- Conspiracy to convert criminal property (money laundering)
- Conspiracy to commit unauthorised access to a computer.
Ben Fletcher, Director of the IFB said of the case “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.