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Computer hacker to appeal sentence

Published: 8:27AM Thursday June 01, 2006 Source: RNZ

A computer hacker is to appeal against his prison sentence for internet fraud, saying it is too severe.

Aucklander Mark Hayes, 19, was sentenced last Friday in the District Court in Auckland to two years six months in prison after pleading guilty to more than 100 computer-related offenses and around $38,000 worth of fraud.

In sentencing, the Judge called Hayes a "serious recidivist computer criminal" for his offending in 2004 and reoffending while on bail in 2005.

Hayes' lawyer Peter Kaye says his client feels his sentence is too high for a person of his age and circumstances. Hayes is not eligible to apply for home detention.

The Crown Solicitor for Auckland last week described the sentence as "substantial."

Crown Solicitor Simon Moore said such offending would normally draw a jail term of three months at the most but the judge wanted to send a clear message about the seriousness of hacking.

The court heard that in 2004, Hayes used a "keystroke logger" hacking device to access the login password details of TradeMe account holders.

He used their accounts to buy $18,500 worth of computer and clothing goods, paying for them with other peoples' money whose bank account details he had also hacked into.

Hayes pleaded guilty.

He then appeared before the court again for similar offending in 2005, again using a "keystroke logger" to get bank account details. He took around $20,000.

In sentencing, Judge David Harvey called Hayes a "serious recidivist computer criminal", ordering a jail sentence of 30 months and the repayment of around $18,000.