An IT specialist who tried to get a "financial bounty" by falsely claiming he had uncovered vulnerabilities in Eircom's systems has been given a suspended sentence and ordered to pay €35,000.
Alexander Jones, formerly of Church Road, Skerries, Co Dublin, but now living in the UK, admitted dishonestly operating a computer with the intention of making a gain at Telephone House, Dublin, in 2014.
Detective Garda Colm Gallagher told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that, while working for a firm providing tech support to Eircom, Jones accessed confidential information.
Jones claimed he had done this through vulnerabilities in the company's system, which allowed him to access the information from his laptop using a particular type of software.
The 33-year-old told his employer that a "bounty" would usually be paid to someone who uncovered a vulnerability.
However, investigations carried out by Eircom costing €72,000 proved that Jones could not have accessed the information with the software.
Det Gda Gallagher told the court that Jones had copied the data from the internal system on to his personal laptop.
The investigation also exposed that Jones had accessed customers' phone conversations and insurance claims.
Judge Martin Nolan said it was an "unusual crime".
He said Jones was a man of "considerable talent" but that "he certainly ill-used it".
He handed down a suspended sentence of three years on the condition that Jones pay €15,000 to his injured parties within the month and a further €20,000 in a year's time.
Jones, whose partner and baby were in court, cried as the sentence was handed down.
Det Gda Gallagher said Jones had no previous convictions before pleading guilty to similar offences this week before Dublin District Court.
He said that, before the more recent offences, Jones had generated unauthorised Xbox discount codes valued at €410,000 and sold some of these codes online.
While €48,000 worth of the codes were used, Microsoft suffered no financial loss as it cancelled all of the unauthorised codes.
Jones failed to attend a trial date in March 2018 and was returned to Ireland as the result of a European Arrest Warrant, which he contested.