Disgraced motor industry worker ordered to pay £33,500 after data theft

Time 11:41 am, July 19, 2019

A MOTOR industry employee who was jailed for six months for accessing personal data without permission has been ordered to pay £33,500.

Following a hearing at Wood Green Crown Court, north London, on Monday in a case brought by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), Judge Noel Lucas QC made a £25,500 confiscation order after determining that Mustafa Ahmet Kasim benefited from thousands of pounds as a result of the offences. He also said Karim must pay £8,000 costs, making a total of £33,500.

Kasim, of Palmer’s Green, had previously worked for accident repair firm Nationwide Accident Repair Services (NARS) and accessed thousands of customer records containing personal data without permission.

He used his colleagues’ log-in details to access a software system that estimates the cost of vehicle repairs, known as Audatex, giving the information to claims management firms, and continued to do so after starting a new job at a different, unidentified, car repair organisation that used the same software system. The records contained customers’ names, phone numbers, vehicle and accident information.

NARS contacted the ICO when it saw an increase in customer complaints about nuisance calls and helped the ICO with its investigation, which led to the first prosecution of its kind to be brought by the office.

At the hearing at Wood Green Crown Court in September 2018, Kasim admitted a charge of securing unauthorised access to personal data between January 13 and October 19, 2016.

He was sentenced at the same court in November 2018 – becoming the first person to be imprisoned following an ICO prosecution, which was brought under the Computer Misuse Act.

After this week’s hearing, ICO group manager for enforcement Mike Shaw said: ‘Our investigations found that Mr Kasim had benefited financially from his illegal activity.

‘As a result of his activities, people whose data had been stolen received cold calls and his former employer faced huge remedial costs.

‘Personal data obtained in this way can be a valuable commodity and selling it may seem like an easy way to make money but the penalties can be severe. The outcome of this case should serve as a deterrent to others.’

Kasim has three months to comply with the confiscation order, made under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, or else face a 12-month prison sentence.

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