Bingo Data Thief Found Guilty

For most computer users identity theft is a very real concern. Victims of identity theft have told nightmarish stories of ruined credit, foreclosures and other crimes. For many victims it takes years to recover and many victims have had their credit rating permanently damages. Internet bingo players put their trust in bingo sites to use the latest security technology to guard their financial and personal information. Most bingo sites use the latest state of the art security technology and spend thousands every year updating their security programs. Unfortunately there is one threat that even the best security program cannot protect players from; a dishonest employee.

Back in May an investigation by a private detective agency and Cashcade Limited revealed that Marc Ben-Ezra had stolen player details from his employer and was willing to sell the information to the highest bidder. It has been estimated that Marc Ben-Ezra stole the details of 65,000 internet bingo players. A series of emails using the pseudonym of ‘Malcolm Edwards’ contained the details of 400 Foxy Bingo customers. The emails were sent to contacts in the UK gaming industry and offered to sell more stolen player details. Cashcade was notified of the security breach and immediately employed a private detective agency.

The agency emailed Ben-Ezra and offered him £1,700.When the exchange was made Ben Ezra said he also had the details of 404 Foxy bingo players dating back to 2008. The detective agency and the gaming companies notified the Information Commissioner’s Office. On their website the ICO states that their mission is “to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals. We rule on eligible complaints, give guidance to individuals and organisations, and take appropriate action when the law is broken.”

Marc Ben-Ezra went to court and received what amounts to a slap on the wrist. Ben Ezra was ordered to pay his former employer £1,700; ($2,729.30 USD) received a three-year conditional discharge (similar to probation in the US) and paid court costs of £830.80. ($ 1,333.80 USD) Many found the very light sentence highly offensive. The Information Commissioner’s Office has repeatedly voiced its objections to non custodial sentences saying they do not deter others from committing similar crimes. Information commissioner Christopher Graham praised the actions of those who brought Ben Ezra to justice and said the case points out the need for stiffer sentences. Graham stated “I am grateful to Cashcade Limited and Gala Coral for their work in exposing this unlawful practice. However, we still don’t have a punishment that fits the crime. The ICO continues to push for the government to activate the 2008 legislation that would allow courts to consider other penalties like community service orders or the threat of prison.”