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Corporate account battle ‘led agent to hack rival’

June 29, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

A court in Hobart has heard that a travel agent hacked into a rival’s booking system and gained unfair commercial advantage while the two were tendering for Tasmania’s largest corporate account.

The Hobart Mercury reported that Lee-Anne Marie Levett, 51, entered guilty pleas to 48 counts of unauthorised access of a computer.

In the Supreme Court, Levett admitted to a series of crimes committed from 2011 to 2013.

Levett and her husband Simon Levett jointly owned The Travel Studio in Salamanca Square, specialising in leisure and corporate bookings, Crown prosecutor Jackie Hartnett told the court.

The court heard of commercial rivalry between The Travel Studio and Andrew Jones Travel.

Hartnett said both The Travel Studio and Andrew Jones Travel tendered in 2011 for the University of Tasmania staff travel account, the most lucrative such account in the state at the time.

The court heard both agencies used the Tramada software system and Levett had used the log-on and password of a former Travel Studio employee now working at Andrew Jones Travel to access business records of her rival.

The prosecutor said this had given the accused a significant, unlawful and unfair advantage in the tender process.

As it happened, the University of Tasmania staff travel account ended up being awarded jointly to The Travel Studio and Andrew Jones Travel. Even after that, however, Levett continued to illegally access her rival’s system from her office and on trips interstate and overseas in a failed attempt to win greater market share, the prosecutor said.

Police arrived unannounced at The Travel Studio in February 2013 and seized all computers, the court heard.

Prosecutor Hartnett and the lawyer for Levett, Phillip Zeeman, told Acting Justice David Porter yesterday that there were now no disputes over the Crown facts.

The Mercury reported that Zeeman requested a psychological report be prepared on his client before sentencing. Acting Justice Porter agreed to this, adjourned the case until 12 July 2017 and continued Levett’s bail.

Written by Peter Needham

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