UK Jails Cyber-Voyeur

UK Jails Cyber-Voyeur

A former civil servant has been imprisoned in the United Kingdom for hacking into the computer accounts of nearly 600 women and girls to blackmail them into sharing sexually explicit images of themselves. 

Akash Sondhi, of Chafford Hundred, Essex, engaged in a cybercrime spree that lasted nearly three and a half years and impacted 573 victims located around the world in countries including Australia, Hong Kong, and the UK.

The 27-year-old, who was described by the Crown Prosecution Service as "an extremely manipulative man," was sentenced today in Basildon Crown Court to 11 years in prison for blackmail, voyeurism, and cybercrimes. 

Judge Samantha Cohen told Sondhi: "You were a source of pride to your family, but now you are a source of shame."

Between December 26, 2017, and March 17, 2020, Sondhi gained unauthorized access to hundreds of victims' social media accounts. Snapchat, a messaging app that lets users exchange pictures and video that are meant to disappear shortly after they're viewed, was his favored hunting ground. 

After gaining access to an account, Sondhi would trawl it for indecent images that he could use to threaten his victim. 

"Sondhi told them if they didn’t send him nude images of themselves, he would post intimate images of them to their friends and family," said the CPS. 

Some of the young women complied with Sondhi's requests, and in at least six cases, this serial sextortionist carried out his threats to expose their private images.

The CPS said that a number of Sondhi's victims reported experiencing serious emotional and psychological harm as a result of his actions. One victim even attempted to kill herself. 

“Akash Sondhi is an extremely manipulative man who inflicted emotional and psychological damage on young women while also getting gratification from their images and videos," said CPS senior crown prosecutor Joseph Stickings.

"Following a diligent and thorough investigation conducted by the Essex Police Cyber Crime Unit the CPS was able to build a comprehensive case of 65 counts reflecting the high level of his offending."

Stickings went on to thank all of the victims who came forward to report Sondhi's crimes, commending them for their bravery.

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