The Chester Crown Court has ordered two former employees of UK mobile operator T-Mobile to pay a total of £73,700 after stealing and selling customer data from the company in 2008.
David Turley and Darren Hames pleaded guilty to offences under Section 55 of the Data Protection Act.
The pair's offences were uncovered after T-Mobile called on the Information Commissioner's Office to help investigate how customer details were being passed on to third parties unlawfully.
David Turley, who pleaded guilty to 18 offences in July 2010, was ordered to pay £45,000 confiscation costs and given a three-year conditional discharge. If he does not pay the confiscation costs within six months he will serve an 18-month prison sentence.
Darren Hames, who pleaded guilty to two offences last November, was ordered to pay £28,700 confiscation costs, £500 towards prosecution costs and given an 18-month conditional discharge. If he does not pay the confiscation costs within six months he will serve a 15-month prison sentence.
Information Commissioner Christopher Graham said the hearing marks the final chapter in an investigation that exposed mass illegal trade in lucrative mobile phone contract information, as well as a new chapter of effective deterrents on data crime where the courts will act to recover the ill-gotten gains.
"Those who have regular access to thousands of customer details may think that attempts to use it for personal gain will go undetected, but this case shows that there is always an audit trail and my office will do everything in its power to uncover it," he said.
This case is the first time the ICO has applied for use of confiscation orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Under the Act, a proportion of any money recovered is given to the prosecuting authority to be used in the prevention and detection of crime. The ICO will use its proportion of the money to fund training for its investigation staff.