The independent London newspaper

Camden Council worker jailed for three years after making list of vulnerable targets for fraudsters

Criminals given list of 277 pensioners after Town Hall data breach

27 December, 2017 — By William McLennan

Charlie Heath, left, and Shaheedul Abedin 

A COUNCIL worker who made a list of vulnerable elderly residents and then gave it to fraudsters has been jailed for three years.

Charlie Heath used his position at Camden Council to steal the names and addresses of pensioners, who were then targeted by conmen.

The 23-year-old, from King’s Cross, admitted making the list, but told Blackfriars Crown Court that he had been acting on the orders of an unidentified criminal gang, who, he said, had threatened him and his family.

He maintained his innocence and claimed that he had thrown the list in the bin shortly after printing it off and had “no idea” how the names ended up in the hands of fraudsters.

A jury dismissed his claims and found him guilty of making and supplying articles for use in fraud. He was sentenced on Friday alongside two accomplices.

The court heard that Mr Heath worked as a data “archiver” assigned to the children’s social services department and had “no reason to access adult records”.

But when the list was discovered, a review of council computer systems showed he had been able to access thousands of vulnerable adults’ details over a period of two months.

The data breach led to a overhaul of the Town Hall’s handling of sensitive information, with access to residents’ details now more tightly restricted.

Heath had told the jury that he had a crisis of conscience after printing of the list.

“As soon as it left the printer I thought about the repercussions and I put it in the confidential waste bin,” he said.

Nine days later it was found by police along with the passport and bank card of a 78-year-old woman who had recently been defrauded.

Officers forensically examined the list and found the fingerprints of 20-year-old Shaheedul Abedin, of Tower Hamlets, and 20-year-old Kawsar Ahmed, of Lewisham.

Abedin was jailed for 12 months and Ahmed 16 months, having both been found guilty.

In a textbook example of so-called “courier fraud”, the victim had been phoned by a conman posing as a police officer, who said they were investigating fraud and needed her bank details to aid their enquiries. She later handed them over to a man posing as a courier.

Detective Constable Neil Pilgrim said: “Courier fraud is a despicable act that usually takes advantage against the elderly or otherwise vulnerable victims. These three criminals will have the festive period to reflect on their actions.”

He added: “The Met’s advice about courier fraud is that the police and your bank will never ask for your PIN number or your bank cards. If you are called and asked for these items – hang up straight away. The police will never call you at home and ask you for money, whatever the reason.”

Share this story

Post a comment