A Morecambe man is among four men sentenced for their part in a scam involving the theft and sale of private customer data from AXA Insurance.
The City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED), which worked closely with AXA during the investigation, discovered that between July 15 2015 and December 30 2015, AXA employee Shane Jerman, of Westbourne Road in Morecambe, stole customer data and passed it on to ex-employee Stuart McGill, who in turn sold it on to Jack Greenwood and Andrew Franks for their claims management company.
After pleading guilty to one count of bribery at Preston Combined Court Centre on Friday, Jerman, 29, received nine months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, 180 hours unpaid work and £450 court costs.
It was discovered that Jerman was taking photographs of customer data and sending them on to McGill via Whatsapp.
McGill stated that Jerman was sending roughly 100 lines of data to him each week.
Analysis of their bank accounts revealed that McGill was regularly sending between £250 and £650 to Jerman, with the description in the statements as “Shane Jerman Wolf of Manchester”.
Further analysis into McGill’s bank account showed that he was receiving several thousands of pounds from a company called Mid North West Ltd. IFED made enquiries into Mid North West Ltd, which was operating as a claims management company, and identified Greenwood as a director and Franks as an employee.
McGill also confirmed this in his interview and said he was receiving money from them in return for the data supplied by Jerman.
At one stage during the fraud, Greenwood bragged about the success of their activity, sending a message to McGill suggesting a “Christmas works do is defo on the cards!” for the four of them.
AXA became suspicious that there was fraudulent activity and referred the matter to IFED for investigation. In total, it’s estimated that Jerman and McGill made a total of £18,250 between them.
Det Con Louise Wager, who led the investigation for IFED, said: “These four men thought they could make easy money by selling on customer data, but instead they have been sentenced for their involvement, and will now be unable to work in a range of industries due to their criminal records.
“The Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department takes this type of fraud very seriously. As shown in this case with AXA Insurance, we continue to work effectively with insurers to try and eradicate fraudulent activity within the industry and deter anyone who is thinking of getting involved.”
Mike Bennett, head of Investigations & Fraud Control at AXA UK, said: “We take information security and fraud extremely seriously here at AXA, and will investigate all cases then seek to prosecute for this type of activity.
“We would like to thank our internal teams who compiled the evidence as well as IFED who investigated the case. We hope this acts as a reminder that when it comes to fraud, the consequences are not worth the risk.”
It is believed that Greenwood and Franks would have used the data to ring AXA customers and attempt to refer them on to solicitors who would help them progress their accident claims.
The benefit to Greenwood and Franks would be a fee for providing the solicitors with new customers.
It is unclear exactly how much Greenwood and Franks made from the stolen customer data, and AXA are unable to put a value on their own loss as they are unsure if any of the stolen data directly resulted in customers taking their business elsewhere.
The full sentences received by the four men were:
* Shane Jerman, 29, of Westbourne Road, Morecambe – Nine months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months. 180 hours unpaid work and £450 court costs. For one count of bribery.
* Stuart McGill, 30, of Charlecote Road, Stockport – Nine months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months. 180 hours unpaid work and £450 court costs. For two counts of bribery.
* Jack Greenwood, 29, of Gravel Lane, Wilmslow – 14 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months. 180 hours unpaid work, £750 court costs and £3,000 fine to be paid within three months. For one count of bribery.
* Andrew Franks, 29, of Spencer Mews, Macclesfield – 17 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months. 180 hours unpaid work, £750 court costs and £3,000 fine to be paid within three months. For one count of bribery.