Man admits hacking into PayPal accounts

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A FATHER told magistrates he stole money from three online accounts so he could feed his children – but spent his ill-gotten gains on a games console, television set and clothing.

Daniel Freeman, 25, of Hollington Old Lane, St Leonards, hacked three online PayPal accounts and stole £859.22, Hastings Magistrates Court was told.

On October 18 last year, police were contacted by a man in Leicester who said £188.54 had been taken from his account.

The money was used to buy a Nintendo DS game and games console, which were delivered to an address in Oxford Road, St Leonards.

On the same date, a woman in South Wales had her account hacked, and £97.98 was spent on clothing.

And on December 4, a Wiltshire woman discovered £572.70 was missing from her account. The stolen money was spent on electronic goods, including a £400 TV.

Jeremy King, prosecuting, said: “He (Freeman) said he used a website in order to access PayPal accounts and was alerted to it by someone else who did it.

“He said he needed money through lack of work and needed to feed his children.”

The court heard that Freeman, a plumber, was staying with friends in Oxford Road when the offences took place.

All the stolen money was refunded to the PayPal accounts.

Freeman pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud and also admitted being in breach of a six-month suspended sentence, imposed on September 15 last year for stealing mail.

Kim Goodall, defending, said: “The matters before the court were committed in October, we are now in February and there have been no offences since.”

The case was adjourned for sentencing at Lewes Crown Court.

Freeman was refused bail and remanded in custody.

Speaking afterwards, PC Darryl Donaghue, of Hastings CID, said: “Criminals are using the internet to commit a number of fraudulent activities including ID theft and obtaining property using other people’s accounts.

“It is an illegal money train and they think that they are unstoppable.

“This week’s result shows that is not the case.”