Witchunt. A mans story

Started by poiuyt, Apr 03, 2008, 08:56 AM

previous topic - next topic
Go Down

poiuyt

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7326736.stm
By Marc Sigsworth 
Quote
With ID fraud on the rise, the assumption is you'll lose money which can be claimed back. But Simon Bunce lost his job, and his father cut off contact, when he was arrested after an ID fraudster used his credit card details on a child porn website.

Simon Bunce used to be a keen internet shopper, delighted to escape the hordes and have goods delivered to his door. Wary of fly-by-night operators, he bought only from big name retailers with secure websites.

But then, four years ago, he was astonished to find himself embroiled in Operation Ore, the UK's largest ever police hunt against internet paedophiles. He was arrested on suspicion of possession of indecent images of children, downloading indecent images of children and incitement to distribute indecent images of children.

Hampshire Police took away his computer and data storage devices including flash drives, CDs and floppy disks, as well as examining the computer and storage devices that he used at work.

The effect was devastating. When his employers became aware of the reason he had been arrested, he was abruptly dismissed from his 120,000 a year job, and close members of his family disowned him.

"I made the mistake of telling my father, and he cut me off," Mr Bunce says. "He then told all my siblings and they also cut us off."

Suddenly deprived of his income, Mr Bunce had to consider selling the family home. But his wife, Kim, stuck by him, and supported his mission to clear his name.

Mr Bunce knew he was innocent - he had never downloaded indecent images, and so he knew that the police would not find any evidence on the computers or storage devices they had taken away.

But the police's computer technicians take several months to examine these, and Mr Bunce could not afford to wait to repair the damage done to his reputation. "I knew there'd been a fundamental mistake made and so I had to investigate it."

Identity fraud occurs when personal information is used by someone else to obtain credit, goods or other services fraudulently. Recent surveys suggest that as many as one in four Britons have been affected by it. In 2007 more than 185,000 cases of identity theft were identified by Cifas, the UK's fraud prevention service, an increase of almost 8% on 2006.

Tarnished name

Operation Ore targeted suspected paedophiles believed to have been downloading indecent images of children, those whose credit card details had been used to buy pornography via an American portal called Landslide - the gateway site and central credit card handler for hundreds of websites.

Hundreds of successful prosecutions ensued, with extensive media coverage given to high profile suspects, including actor Chris Langham of The Thick of It.

As Landslide was based in the United States and under investigation there, Mr Bunce was able to use the US Freedom of Information Act to obtain a complete copy of all of the relevant material, including databases, access logs and credit card information, together with detailed information of the webmasters, which allowed him to find out how his credit card details had been used.

Each computer has a unique internet protocol number, or IP address, which identifies the specific computer and its geographic whereabouts whenever it is used to access the internet.

Mr Bunce discovered that the computer used to enter his credit card details was in Jakarta, Indonesia, and the date and time that his credit card details were entered onto the Landslide website was at a time when he could prove that he was using the same card in a restaurant in south London.

"I can't be in two places at once, so somehow my data had got to the man in Indonesia."

He was also able to discover that his credit card details had been obtained from a popular online shopping site, but he doesn't know how these came to be in the hands of a criminal.

The man responsible for using his credit card details hid behind the online name "Miranda" - a webmaster who hosted and produced pornographic websites and received a commission from Landslide for subscriptions to his website which were paid by credit card. "Miranda" had used Mr Bunce's credit card details - without his knowledge - to take out a subscription to one of his websites.

Cash convert

In September 2004, the police told Mr Bunce they would not proceed with any action against him. They had not found indecent material, and accepted that it wasn't him who had entered his credit card details on the Landslide website

It took another six months before he got another job, earning a quarter of the salary he'd earned before his arrest.

Mr Bunce has also reconciled with his family, having explained to them how he came to be implicated and then cleared. Are bygones bygones? "I've forgiven them [my family] - there's no point in bearing a grudge."

Four years on, he is bringing a High Court action against the shopping website for allowing his personal details to be compromised. So no more internet shopping? "No, no, no. Once bitten, twice shy," says Mr Bunce, who now sells encryption services.

"I wouldn't say that I live in the cash economy now, but I'd rather go to the bank to withdraw money to buy petrol, as you hear of card details being harvested at garages. I'm paranoid about data security. I shred everything, I never use credit cards anymore.

"Being arrested and accused of what is probably one of the worst crimes known to man, losing my job, having my reputation run through the mud, it's a living nightmare."

Libertariandadd

Theres something fundamentally wrong when a mans job, reputation and family life is destroyed by a mere accusation by zealous bureaucratic fanatics. Child Pornography addicts should be considered and treated as a mnetal health issue more than a criminal case anyway. Mr Bunce should be allowed to have his old job at the same salary back too. What an absolute outrage!  :angryfire:
'It was always the women, and above all the young ones, who were the most bigoted adherents of the Party, the swallowers of slogans, the amateur spies and nosers-out of unorthodoxy.' George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

LSBeene

I do believe in prosecutorial immunity, to a point.  And I do believe that the state has a vested interest in investigating such cases.

However, once found that a truly innocent man is in their snare the gov't should be REQUIRED to make up to the person destroyed the monetary loss of his livelihood.  Not punitive, but true monetary loss, determined by a 3rd party arbitor not on the state's payroll.

I did not lose as much as this man, but I have some idea of his loss.

God be with him, and God bless his wife.

Steven
'Watch our backs at home, we'll guard the wall over here. You can sleep safe tonight, we'll guard the door."

Isaiah 6:8
"Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"

Gunner Retired

Any ethical endorsement of the premise of Prosecutorial Immunity goes out the window in a pall of dust when it becomes clear the prosecutor FAILED to uphold the creed of his/her office by not thoroughly investigating the facts of an alleged crime prior to destroying an innocent mans life ... especially when that investigative action is motivated by political or professional aspirations rather than law enforcement.
Gunner Retired

Go Up