Two people sentenced for bribery offences after leaking confidential data to claims management company
On 20th December 2016, two people were sentenced to 12 months in prison at Bournemouth Crown Court, following an investigation by the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) into a leak of confidential data by a former employee of LV= to a claims management company.
This is the first time IFED officers have had a successful conviction under the Bribery Act.
Aisha Elliott aged 23, from Yeovil was sentenced to 12 months for offering a bribe and Stephen Karl Oates, aged 26 of Bournemouth, was also sentenced to 12 months for receiving a bribe after being found guilty of passing on confidential information. Elliott worked for a claims management company while Oates was an employee working with LV= at the time of the offence.
Early in 2015 IFED was asked by LV= to investigate Elliott and Oates after the insurer suspected that one of its computer systems had been accessed and information sold by an LV= member of staff to Aisha Elliott who worked for the claims management company Elkador Finance Ltd.
Oates worked for LV= in its Third Party team as a consultant. LV=’s suspicions were raised when contacted by a third party enquiring about their hire car. Checks by LV= found that they had not repaired this individual’s car and therefore would not be offering a hire car. The third party claimed that he was contacted by a company called ‘Select’ who were in possession of his customer details and had offered him a courtesy car.
Following this call, a full audit of LV=’s Third Party team was undertaken and it was discovered that Oates had been selling customer data in order to make a personal profit. Each time he sold personal data to Elliott at Elkador Finance Ltd and she made a successful claim, Oates would earn £150. Oates admitted to police that he had been writing personal data on pieces of paper and providing these to Elliott at her home. At one point Oakes was supplying Elliott with at least seven names a week, receiving more than £1000 for the information.
Confiscation proceedings against the pair will now take place.
Detective Chief Inspector Oliver Little from the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department said:
“This is a significant investigation for IFED and the first time that we’ve had a successful conviction involving bribery offences and this result shows that those who commit acts of bribery face spending time in prison.
“Fraud within the insurance industry is taken extremely seriously – whether it’s members of the public looking to submit false claims for a profit, or indeed members of staff that think it is acceptable to sell on customer data.
“The outcome shows how it is possible to work closely with the insurance industry to ensure that criminal cases such as these are thoroughly investigated and that the culprits are brought to justice. This case should act as a warning to all insurers and highlight the fact that there are a number of unscrupulous fraudsters out there who will target insurance staff to try and get customer data and information from them.
“The consequences for those who involve themselves in this sort of activity are extremely serious and we will continue to work with insurers to target the very small minority that do this.”
Martin Milliner, LV= Claims Director said:
“This is a great outcome for LV= and IFED and the insurance industry overall. Oates and Elliott have both been given custodial sentences of 12 month’s imprisonment. This reinforces the message that bribery and fraud are serious crimes which perpetrators can expect to be punished for, whether they receive a criminal record or worse, a stint in prison.
“The insurance industry takes bribery extremely seriously and we’ve worked closely with IFED to bring these individuals to court. Data protection is of paramount importance to us and we have rigorous internal systems in place to detect fraudulent activity, which led to the internal investigation of our employee and case handed to IFED. Fraudsters should take note – you won’t get away with it. At LV= we will always seek to bring offenders to account whether they are an unscrupulous Claims Management Company or a rogue employee.”