A man has been jailed for attempting to blackmail a major broadcasting company.
Imoudu Chaba, 37, obtained customer records from the company while he worked there between 2011 to 2015.
He claimed a manager had left their computer unlocked and unattended.
Chaba, of Heybrook Road, Baguley, then threatened to publish the records on the dark web unless he was paid the equivalent of £44,286 in Bitcoin.
When his attempts to blackmail a senior member of staff failed, he started targeted customers to put pressure on the company.
Chaba attempted to blackmail a senior member of staff and six customers out of a combined total of £47,286.
He was jailed for two years and four months after pleading guilty to four counts of blackmail at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court.
The court heard a senior member of staff at the broadcasting company received a letter in January 2018 that had been written by an anonymous former employee.
The letter claimed they had obtained more than one million customer records from a company database.
The former employee stated that they had been unfairly dismissed from their role and sought payment in Bitcoin, as compensation.
They then threatened to publish the customer records on the dark web if the Bitcoin was not paid into a cryptocurrency wallet by the end of the month.
The cryptocurrency wallet was set up using an email address that began with ‘cjack8102’.
Detectives at the City of London Police’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) linked the email address to an individual who used the alias ‘CJACK8102’ on the dark web, in October 2019, and Chaba was arrested in March 2020.
During a search of his home, officers found a USB stick containing a spreadsheet of the names and addresses of 11,400 of the broadcasting company’s customers, and a copy of the letter that had been received by the senior member of staff in 2018.
The laptop also contained another six letters, each addressed to a customer named on the spreadsheet.
The letters informed the recipient there had been a data breach at the company and demanded that they make a payment of £500 to prevent their personal details from being leaked further.
Detective Constable Daniel Dankoff, from the PIPCU, said: "Chaba executed a shameless plot for his own financial gain.
"When his attempts to blackmail a senior member of staff proved unsuccessful, he began to target customers to exert pressure on the company.
"While Chaba used a variety of stuff and conceal his identity, this sentencing send a clear message that we have the ability and tools to find criminals and stop their elicit activity."