Teenage hacker jailed over Snapchat blackmail plot to leak nude pictures of women
A teenager who hacked Snapchat accounts and threatened to post nude pictures of women online in a “cruel” money-making scheme has been jailed for two years.
Jasin Bushi, 18, took control of a series of women’s social media accounts, posing as the victim to message their friends.
He claimed to be facing eviction and asked to borrow £200 or £300 to cover the rent, but when challenged Bushi admitted he was an imposter.
However, he would then threatened to post naked images of the victim online to their contacts if the money was not paid.
At Wood Green crown court on Monday, Bushi, from Camden, was sentenced to two years in prison for a series of hacking incidents and fraud between December 2020 and February 2021.
A string of intimate images of victims, taken from the private areas of their Snapchat accounts, were posted online and seen by family and friends, but Judge Andrew Holmes accepted that Bushi had not been responsible.
One victim found out her images had been leaked when she was told by colleagues at work.
“I felt embarrassed”, she said. “I left the office straight away in tears and had a few days off work because I felt I couldn’t face the people who have seen those private images.
“The feeling still haunts me now of when I first saw those photos on my public story, I would never wish that feeling upon anyone.”
Another victim says she now feels “nauseated” when using Snapchat, a social media platform where years of childhood memories are stored. “I had a friend who, thinking she was helping me, lost a significant amount of money due to this incident and I feel indebted to her”, she said.
“I was fortunate enough to not be physically injured by this incident, but the long lasting psychological effects impact me every day, and I feel that this is likely to be the case for a long time in the future.”
The Met Police’s Cyber Crime Unit were called in to investigate in May 2021, tracing PayPal accounts set up in fake names which had been used in the blackmail plot.
Bushi was identified through mobile numbers used to set up the accounts, and in a search of his home officers found phones contained victims’ bank details, compromised email addresses and passwords, and a note which read: “Hey, I’m struggling with rent. I’m literally £300 short and I’m probably going to get kicked out if I can’t pay. I’ll pay back Monday.”
Seven victims, aged between 17 and 35, came forward to police, but the Met said “many more victims” did not want to support a police investigation.
“Bushi completely violated the victims’ privacy all in an attempt to make a quick bit of cash”, said Detective Constable Ed Sehmer, the investigating officer.
“When his deception did not work, he resorted to blackmail. He is extremely cruel, callous and it was absolutely devastating for the victims who had their intimate images publicly posted.”
He added: “This crime type often goes underreported as victims can often feel shame or embarrassment. There is nothing to feel ashamed about.
“I urge anyone to come forward and report to the police if this has happened to you. We will fully support you and treat you with sensitivity and dignity.”
Bushi pleaded guilty to unauthorised access to a computer to facilitate the commission of an offence, fraud by false representation, possession of articles used in fraud and three counts of blackmail.
Three charges of disclosing private sexual photographs or films with intent to cause distress, which he denied, were left to lie on file.