Sondhi has been sentenced to 11 years in prison (credit: Essex Police)
Akash Sondhi, of Hedingham Road, hacked into the Snapchat accounts of his victims and threatened to expose their existing images to their friends and family if they did not send him intimate images.
The 27-year-old targeted 574 young women, aged between 16 and 25, in the UK, Australia, Hong Kong, Romania and more between 2015 and 2020. Police have not been able to trace all of his victims.
Officers from Essex Police’s Cyber Crime Unit raided his home address on Thursday, 19 March 2020 after several victims reported him to them.
Multiple girls were able to identify Sondhi and were supported by Essex Police’s Cyber team.
Sondhi admitted to 65 offences, including hacking, blackmail and voyeurism, at Basildon Crown Court today.
He was sentenced to 11 years in prison, a five year Serious Crime Prevention Order and placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for 10 years.
“The sentence Akash Sondhi has received today reflects how much distress he caused to his victims,” said Detective Sergeant Ian Collins.
“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.
“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”
“There are several ways to secure your online accounts which most online providers support such as the use of two factor authentication (2FA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA) put this with a strong unique password for each online account will protect you and your data.”
If you would like to find out more about children staying safe on the internet, you can do so here.
If you or someone you know has been impacted by a similar issue, you should contact the National Fraud & Cyber Crime Report Centre at Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040.
Alternatively, you can seek support from the NSPCC by calling 0800 1111.
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