Banker in the UK fined for illegally accessing colleagues bank account details

August 24, 2014 |

The Information Commissioner’s Office reports in Birmingham banker fined for reading colleagues’ bank accounts on criminal charges, and fine, of a banker in Birmingham abusing his position and in the process breaching the law in reviewing bank accounts of colleagues at Santander.  A very egregious data breach.

It provides:

A Birmingham banker has been fined after he admitted reading his colleagues bank accounts.

Dalvinder Singh, 29, from Yardley, Birmingham, worked in Santander UK’s suspicious activity reporting unit at their Leicester office.

His role investigating allegations of money laundering meant he was able to view customer accounts. But he used his access to look at eleven colleagues’ accounts, to learn how much their salaries and bonuses were.

Singh appeared at Birmingham Magistrates Court today, where he was fined £880, plus £440 costs and an £88 victim surcharge.

Damian Moran, ICO Criminal Investigation Manager, said:

“This is a man who claimed his curiosity got the best of him. But when that curiosity led to him breaking the law, it cost him his job, and has now earned him a criminal conviction.

“Singh had been given clear training by Santander UK around the Data Protection Act, but chose to ignore that training. By accessing personal information he broke the law, and that is why he has been fined today.”

Unlawfully obtaining or accessing personal data is a criminal offence under section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998. The offence is punishable by way of ‘fine only’ – up to £5,000 in a Magistrates Court or an unlimited fine in a Crown Court.

On a related story about misuse of accessing information the Daily Republic reports in Fairfield cops under investigation for possible database checks on potential dates that police in California have been using the police data base to check on potential dates they might seek on a personal dating site.

It provides:

A pair of veteran Fairfield police officers are under investigation for possible felony conduct relating to their trolling of personals dating websites while on duty and possibly using confidential law enforcement databases repeatedly to screen women they found appealing.

The officers, Sgt. Stephen Ruiz and Detective Jacob Glashoff, had their desktop computers, their laptop computers, their duty cellphones and a Fairfield police iPad seized by an internal affairs investigator in June, according to court documents filed Thursday. The equipment was turned over to the Northern California Computer Crimes Task Force, which was joined in the investigation of the two officers by a data analyst with the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Analysis.

The investigation began in June when another detective reported to his superiors that some of his peers in the Investigations Bureau office at 1100 Texas St. were misusing the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System database. It connects to the Department of Motor Vehicles, and state and federal law enforcement records.

A detective reported to his superior that Ruiz and Glashoff had been on the dating website Tinder.com “while at work every day for what seemed like months” and that the two men were “often having their own side conversations regarding dating sites,” according to the court documents.

A search of the two men’s desktop computers revealed they both were accessing Match.com and that Ruiz was also browsing eHarmony.com and Care.com, court documents reflect.

The detective told his superiors that he recalled seeing Ruiz at his desk browsing Care.com with a split-screen image simultaneously on his computer monitor that included the police database and that Ruiz told Glashoff something akin to, “she has a DUI or is suspended,” according to the court documents. The detective said the incident sticks out to him “because it was in front of everybody” and he remembers making eye contact with two other detectives at that time. The detective also reported another time when Glashoff was on his cellphone looking at a personals website, then looked up information in police database before telling Ruiz something akin to “she lives too far out of the area.”

Another detective reported finding an unfamiliar cellphone at the 1100 Texas St. office in July and finding personal photos of Glashoff on the phone along with screen shots of information from the police database, according to the court documents. The detective put the phone on Glashoff’s desk, but it was later seized and analyzed during the investigation.

The investigation includes the observations of detectives who remembered hearing Glashoff ask Ruiz how to delete history information from his computer, according to court documents. A detective also recalled an incident in June when Glashoff was “panicking about his computer, spoke about his status at the Fairfield Police Department and even talked about the ability to find another job.”

Police Chief Walt Tibbet was not available to comment on the investigation. His office released a statement Thursday afternoon: “Information was brought to us, (which) if it were to be true, could be criminal in nature. Out of fairness and individuals’ rights and to maintain organizational integrity, an investigation was begun by another law enforcement entity for the possible criminal aspects.”

Capt. Darrin Moody acknowledged the investigation was ongoing and that both Ruiz and Glashoff remain assigned to their regular duties.

“Generally speaking, the department has a mechanism in place to investigate allegations of misconduct. Per the Government Code, we can’t discuss specific cases,” Moody said.

A check of every California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System search done by Ruiz and Glashoff between Jan. 1 and June 25 revealed that “several” – but not all – of the female names searched were listed in legitimate Fairfield police documents such as search warrants and operation plans,” according to the court documents. An in-house search of the department’s own database found all female names searched by both men were listed as arrestees, witnesses or registered owners of vehicles.

Illegal use of the police database can result in a maximum four-year prison sentence.

Victoria Police has had a long and dismal history in the misuse of personal information from the LEAP database.   As late as 8 February 2014 the Herald Sun reported on the continuing problem in Cops still using LEAP database to snoop on people.  This is just the latest in a long line of known breaches reported by PM in 2004, Stateline in 2005, Sydney Morning Herald in 2007, the Australian and the 7.30 program in 2013.  And that is just a sample of some of the reports over the years.  It is a chronic problem which has not been adequately dealt with.  One starting point would be to make the unauthorised access of personal information on the LEAP database a criminal offence.  That would focus the mind tremendously.  Then properly enforcing the law would go a significant way of changing the culture.

One Response to “Banker in the UK fined for illegally accessing colleagues bank account details”

  1. Banker in the UK fined for illegallying access colleagues bank account details | Australian Law Blogs

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