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Ex-employee posed as former boss and sent email to client suggesting sex


A resentful employee targeted a former senior manager and two ex colleagues by hacking into their online accounts and sending out abusive messages.

Among those Mitesh Patel, 24, targeted was a young woman who worked at the same merchandise firm as him after she ended their three-week relationship due to his “clingy and odd” behaviour.

Patel, from Leicestershire, also went after another colleague he wrongly believed to be the woman’s new boyfriend, hacking into social media accounts and accessing two semi-naked snaps of the man.

Patel then sent the pictures back to him before forwarding on to staff members.

Leicestershire Live reports prosecutor Eunice Opare-Addo told Leicester Crown Court that in August 2018 the woman began to receive abusive Instagram messages claiming to be from someone that she knew. When she got in contact with that person, they revealed they had received similar fake messages, allegedly from her.

The woman’s online dating account was then accessed and the password altered by the defendant, blocking her access.

She received messages from fake social media profiles which caused her anxiety.

In April 2019, she received abusive Snapchat messages, including threats to hack her workplace social media accounts and to “share her secrets” with others.

Miss Opare-Addo said the woman’s mental health suffered. The invasion of her privacy left her feeling “degraded and paranoid with suicidal thoughts”. She now carries a panic alarm.

On discovering the defendant was responsible, she felt “betrayed”.

The male victim was left struggling to sleep at night when his social media account was compromised, and felt “confused and hurt” to later learn Patel had done it.

Patel also anonymously accessed his former employer’s website to make adjustments and adverse changes, and sent a crude message purporting to be from a senior manager to an important business contact suggesting that they meet up for sex.

Patel, of Furrow Way, Great Glen, admitted two counts of stalking, likely to cause alarm or distress by accessing email and social media accounts and one count of having unauthorised access to his former employer’s computer system, all on various dates between August 2018 and September 2019.

Sentencing Patel, Judge Robert Brown told him: “These were particularly mean offences involving your hacking into accounts of individuals as well as the system of the company you once worked for.

“After a three-week relationship with a female, she finished with you and you took that rebuff badly and your behaviour, in no small part, has been an act of revenge and trying to cause discomfort to her and a male colleague who you wrongly assumed had become her boyfriend – and wanted to break it up.

“It was spiteful and designed to hurt and humiliate the female victim and undermine her self-confidence. You knew she had anxiety issues and was vulnerable. You played on that in emails and messages sent to hurt her.

“You also targeted the company because you’d been made redundant, and started sending emails to staff members denigrating your ex-employers and accessing the account to send a message from the firm’s European manager to a business contact, threatening them with a sexual act.

“You’re a young man from a good family, who has had every advantage, and have no previous convictions.

“To their credit, your family has come here to show their support for you.

“You’ve brought shame on them and they’ve done nothing wrong.

“There’s more to this than immaturity, as suggested by your counsel. You’re a smart young man who knows how to hack into other people’s online accounts. You have got a skill in computers and have used it in completely the wrong way.”

Guy Wyatt, mitigating, said of Patel: “He recognises the impact of his offending and says he’s thoroughly ashamed and very much regrets what he’s done and vows never to do it again – and hasn’t done since. All this was a long time ago and he is not to blame for the delay in the case coming to court.

“He’s a young man of previous good character with a career ahead of him and now works for another marketing company.”

Mr Wyatt disagreed that the offences were “well planned and sophisticated”, as described by the prosecution.

Patel was given a 12-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, with a rehabilitation activity requirement, including a Building Better Relationships programme.

He was ordered to pay £360 costs and placed on a five year restraining order, banning any direct or online contact with his two former colleagues.

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