A university student has been ordered to pay more than £7,000 compensation after he hacked the emails of a garden furniture company and targeted one of its customers.
Moshood Olawale Abolade, 26, of Hatchets Lane, Newark, had denied fraud by false representation.
He was found guilty after a trial at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on Friday and appeared for sentencing on Monday.
Abolade was given a community order for a year, during which time he must complete 150 hours’ unpaid work.
He was ordered to pay £7,148 to Gaze Burvill, a company that sells high-end garden furniture online, and £350 towards court costs.
The prosecutor, Mr Mark Fielding, said Abolade, a student at Northampton University, hacked the company’s emails and sent an email to a woman who had placed an order for items worth £7,148. He had replaced the company’s bank account details with his own.
The woman made two payments of £3,574 to Abolade in the belief she was paying the company.
When she was sent an email by the company chasing payment she told them she had already paid an account in the name of Mr Mosh with details matching Abolade’s.
In a statement read in court the company’s operations director said their emails had been hacked when an employee clicked on a link to what appeared to be a Dropbox file.
He said the company had covered the customer’s losses and delivered the items to her after the scam was discovered.
Mr Fielding said Abolade’s computer bag was seized by police who found a hacking device that looked like a standard memory stick.
Abolade, who previously studied computer programming, initially told police during interview that he did not know the money had gone to his bank account.
‘I don’t find the story to be credible’
He said the account was closed due to fraud and he had failed to investigate what had happened.
He then said that a friend called Stephen deposited the money so it could be transferred to his friend.
Giving evidence, Abolade said he did not ask Stephen why his friend needed the money. He said he remembered withdrawing half of the cash but not the rest.
Miss Elisabeth Evans, defending, said Abolade did not know how to hack a company’s emails and did not know the item in his bag was a hacking device.
She said her client was of previous good character who had come to Britain with his family from Nigeria in 2005.
She said he had worked hard at school and was in the second year of a three-year degree course.
“He wants to make a positive impact in the community once he completes his degree,” she said.
Deputy District Judge Peter King said he could not accept Abolade’s version of events.
“I don’t find the story of Stephen to be credible and it follows that the only person to benefit was the defendant,” he said.
“Therefore, it is reasonable to believe he was the one that benefited and he was the one, therefore, that set it up.”