A travel agent in Hobart has pleaded guilty to hacking into a competitor agency’s booking system during a battle for business.
According to News Corp reports, Lee-Anne Marie Levett appeared in Supreme Court on Tuesday, admitting guilt over 48 counts of unauthorised access of a computer.
Levett and her husband, Simon Levett, co-owned The Travel Studio in Howden, Tasmania, and were in a tender process for the staff travel for the University of Tasmania.
At the time, it was the most profitable account in the state, with the tender opening in July 2011.
The Crown Prosecutor, Jackie Hartnett, told the court that when The Travel Studio signed up to the tender process, so did rival agency Andrew Jones Travel, per News Corp.
Both agencies used the travel software, Tramada, and Levett managed to hack into Andrew Jones Travel’s systems using a Tramada log-in and password of a former employee, who had since moved to Andrew Jones.
Not only did it give Levett access to confidential financial documents, but also confidential information of clients.
Hartnett told the court, per News Corp, that Levett used her former employee’s log-in details to gain unfair commercial advantage over Andrew Jones Travel during the tender process.
“It was a computer system that contained not only confidential financial documents relating to Andrew Jones Travel, but also contained large amounts of confidential information concerning individuals, including addresses, phone numbers and credit card details,” Hartnett said, per News Corp.
“By doing, the accused gained a significant, unlawful and unfair advantage in the tender process, a process which did not conclude until November 27, 2011.”
The tender process ended up being jointly awarded to both The Travel Studio and Andrew Jones Travel, however Levett allegedly continued to illegally access details of her competitor in an attempt to win greater stakes in the travel market, per News Corp.
Prosecutor Hartnett told the court Levett even phoned a University of Tasmania professor, who was a customer of Andrew Jones, to ask about details of his upcoming business trip.
Per News Corp, police arrived at The Travel Studio on February 14, 2013, however before they seized her computers, Levett made attempts to conceal her misconduct.
“With the police officers standing there, the accused took this opportunity to move the unique Andrew Jones Travel computer system web link to the recycle bin in an attempt to conceal incriminating evidence,” Hartnett said.
The case was due to continue this week, however has been delayed until next month while a psychological report is prepared for Levett.
Despite initially disputing a number of the Crown’s facts presented in court, Levett’s lawyer told the Judge there were now no disputes over the facts.
He also requested a psychological report be prepared for his client, with the case adjourned until July 12. Levett was released on bail.