A pervert hacked into nearly 600 Snapchat accounts to force women and girls into sending him “intimate images” by threatening to expose existing photos to their friends and family.
Akash Sondhi, 27, targeted 573 girls and women aged between 16 and 25 between 2015 and 2020.
After hacking into their accounts, Sondhi threatened to expose existing images to his victim’s friends and family he found in their contacts list unless they sent him more “intimate photos”.
His address in Hedingham Road, Chafford Hundred was raided by officers from Essex Police’s Cyber Crime Unit on March 19 last year after several victims reported him.
A number of his victims have since been identified but others have still not been traced.
Sondhi admitted a total of 65 offences at Basildon Crown Court on Tuesday, January 5 including hacking, blackmail, and voyeurism.
Sondhi was sentenced to 11 years in prison, a five year Serious Crime Prevention Order, and placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for 10 years.
Detective Sergeant Ian Collins, from the Essex Police Cyber Crime Unit said: “This is an excellent result for the 573 victims in this case and the Essex Cyber Team.
“The sentence Akash Sondhi has received today reflects how much distress he caused to his victims.
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“He targeted with no remorse purporting to be a friend on social media after hacking accounts, then once he got access to their intimate pictures he would attempt to blackmail them around disclosure of the images to friends and family demanding more images and videos of his own choice putting the victims through an ordeal causing extreme distress and embarrassment.
“Since his remand and now this sentence we have manged to stop this vile offender form targeting more victims.
“This is a wakeup call for anyone committing this type of crime we will catch you and bring you to justice, and you can go to prison for the distress caused to the victims.
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“I urge anyone using social media not to store intimate images of themselves to secure and protect your data and make sure you don’t become a victim.
“Don’t share passwords even if you think it’s a trusted friend that asks you for them it might not be, its chat in a text”
DS Collins added: “We have received assistance from forces across the country in supporting victims and gathering information and I want to say particular thank you to Avon and Somerset Police, West Mercia Police, North Yorkshire Police, Merseyside Police and Police Scotland.
“I also want to pay tribute to the professionalism, dedication, and tenacity of Detective Constable Arran Holmes whose commitment to this case has ensured Sondhi will be behind bars for a significant amount of time and unable to target anyone else.”