Private eye used conman to snoop for wealthy clients

 

Cahal Milmo
Tuesday 11 October 2011 00:00

A private investigator commissioned a conman to use the "dark arts" to extract illegal data – including bank transactions, mobile-phone records and information from Interpol – on behalf of a roll call of wealthy clients, a court heard yesterday.

Graham Freeman, 51, jointly ran a Northamptonshire-based investigation agency that employed Daniel Summers, a so-called "blagger" who was adept at tricking banks, phone companies and public bodies into releasing private information for onward sale at up to £1,000 a time. A jury at Kingston Crown Court in south-west London heard that Summers and Philip Campbell-Smith, Mr Freeman's business partner, have already pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit fraud by obtaining illegal information to be sold to customers.

Mr Freeman has denied the same charge, saying he knew nothing of the methods employed by Summers.

The three men were arrested in 2009 after an investigation into Summers by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) that involved an undercover officer buying the conman's second-hand computers after they were advertised for sale in a local newspaper.

Forensic experts then recovered from the machines a large number of emails between the men which Summers had attempted to delete. Tim Probert-Wood, the prosecutor, said: "There is no doubt that there was a conspiracy between Daniel Summers and Philip Campbell-Smith to blag and unlawfully obtain private and personal information by deceit. The one issue is, was Graham Freeman part of that conspiracy or was he in the dark?"

The court heard that Mr Freeman was copied into emails between Campbell-Smith and Summers detailing the type of information he had been commissioned to obtain. In one case, a Mayfair-based businessman asked an investigation agency to find out the origin of a £40,000 payment made to the bank account of a family member. The case continues.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in