AN ‘OBSESSIVE loner’ who used his computer hacking skills to net hundreds of thousands of pounds from his unsuspecting victims has been ordered to repay £124,000 of criminal profits or face more time in jail.
Alistair Peckover, 21, of London Road, Hailsham, hacked into online betting websites and skimmed money from individual accounts, in a series of complex frauds, to extract money to feed his gambling habit.
Using sophisticated computer programmes, some of which he wrote himself, Peckover was able to remotely view files that another computer user was viewing, without their knowledge, taking anything that he chose.
Among his haul was a Porsche and £40,000 in cash stuffed in to two containers, together with more than £30,000 worth of gold bullion in small bars.
This were all seized by detectives, together with Breitling and Rolex watches, a Nintendo Wii games console and six computers.
Police also found passports in three names.
He was sentenced to 20 months’ imprisonment on June 15 last year at Southend Crown Court, Essex, after being convicted of two complex frauds by hacking into websites as well as admitting 50 other offences.
At a confiscation hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act at Basildon Crown Court on Wednesday (January 26), Peckover was required to repay £124,407.28 within six months.
If he fails to repay within that time he will serve a further nine months in prison and will still have to pay the money back.
Four victims are to receive a total of £9,700 compensation from the money to be confiscated.
Detective Constable Des Hamilton, of the Sussex Police Major Fraud Unit, said the case was a classic example of a ‘self-taught obsessive loner’ with real computer skills but no concern for his impact on other people.
“Peckover used his skills to systematically defraud legitimate online businesses and unsuspecting members of the public,” he added.
“He was caught time and again but seemed completely uncaring about others.
“We hope that this sentence will help him use his obvious talents for more honest activity. Computer-based crime is not victimless.”