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Man pleads guilty to blackmail

A 22-year-old man has today, 3 September, pleaded guilty to blackmail, possession of articles for use in fraud and possession of indecent images of children. Lewys Martin, 22 (07.12.91), of no fixed abode, but previously from Deal in Kent, will be sentenced on 16 December at Southwark Crown Court. He pleaded guilty at the same court.

In May 2013, Lloyds Banking Group and The Sun newspaper reported an allegation of blackmail to the Metropolitan Police’s Cyber Crime Unit. The suspect had demanded payment of approximately ?207,000 in Bitcoins, the online currency, threatening exposure of thousands of illegally-obtained bank account details if he did not receive payment.

Anonymisation software had been used to hide the blackmailer’s identity. A sample of the phished bank accounts was enclosed to demonstrate he was a genuine blackmailer.

A complex investigation was launched and detectives identified Martin who was subsequently arrested. Police forensic experts examined a seized computer and phone and experts identified evidence linking Martin to the blackmail. Compromised personal banking information that could be used in a fraud was also found along with three malware-based phishing programs designed to steal personal details and data.
A number of indecent images of children were also discovered which were not connected to the blackmail investigation.

Detective Chief Inspector Jason Tunn of the Metropolitan Police Cyber Crime Unit said:

“Lewis has today pleaded guilty following diligent and complex detective work undertaken by my officers and the support we received from Lloyds Banking Group and The Sun, without whom the investigation would have proved highly difficult.

“The MPS is determined to track down and prosecute cyber criminals that affect businesses and residents of London.

“Martin was not able to defeat the bank’s security systems but instead chose to target his phishing activity at retail customers. I would like to remind the public to remain safe online and further security and safety advice can be sought from”

Source: Metropolitan Police Service

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