By DANIEL TEPFER
BRIDGEPORT -- James Hastings, the Fairfield man whose Dumpster diving
spurred a lawsuit against People's United Bank when he found customers'
financial records tossed in unsecured trash bins, has been fined $800
for disobeying a court order to keep silent about what he found.
"You have made yourself into a public pest," Superior Court Judge
Richard Gilardi told Hastings, 56, of Rhode Island Avenue, in Fairfield,
as he imposed the fine Monday. The judge also ordered the former
repairman to pay unspecified lawyer fees to the bank for violating an
"I thought he was going to throw me in jail," Hastings said after the
The judge also ordered that the case be referred to the Bridgeport
State's Attorney's Office for possible criminal action.
"This office carefully reviewed this matter some time ago and determined
that there was insufficient grounds for prosecution at that time,"
State's Attorney Jonathan Benedict said. "If any information has been
developed, we will be happy to look at it."
Earlier this year, Hastings was probing the Dumpsters outside People's
United Bank branches in the area when he uncovered thousands of
documents that had apparently been tossed out by bank employees that
included Social Security numbers and account information about hundreds
of bank customers.
As a result of Hastings' discovery in the trash bins, customers are
suing the bank.
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