Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Entertaiment | By Mabel Barber

Fourth Suspect Pleads Guilty in Nude Celebrity Photo Hack

Fourth Suspect Pleads Guilty in Nude Celebrity Photo Hack

The FBI reckons Garofano actually ransacked more than 250 cloud accounts, however, in a plea deal he 'fessed up to just one charge.

The charge against Garofano stems from an investigation into the leaks of nude photos of dozens of female celebrities in September 2014, which came to be known as 'celebgate'.

According to a plea agreement, Garofano admitted that between April 2013 and October 2014, he sent emails to victims that appeared to be from Apple security accounts.

Garofano agreed to plead guilty to a count of "unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information".

In the third case, Ryan Collins, 36, a father-of-two from Pennsylvania, was sentenced in 2016 to 18 months in prison.

Chicago resident Emilio Herrera has pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced next month after federal prosecutors charged him in a phishing scheme that gave him illegal access to more than 550 Apple iCloud and Gmail accounts.

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Photos that the suspect obtained later ended up online as part of a mega leak of nude images and videos from Hollywood celebrities.

Meanwhile, Illinois man Edward Majerczyk, 29, was sentenced a year ago to prison.

Garofano's lawyer, Richard W. Lynch of New Haven, said his client was an unwitting pawn of the other hackers behind Celebgate. "He made mistakes, admits his guilt, apologizes to the victims and seeks the leniency of the court".

According to a new report, 26-year-old George Garofano was charged on January 10 with utilizing a phishing scheme in order to hack into hundreds of iCloud accounts, with many belonging to celebrities. But, under the terms of his plea bargain and the advisory sentencing guidelines in federal court, Garofano can expect a sentence of up to 16 months and a fine of up to $55,000. Investigators say Garofano later traded the account usernames and passwords to others, along with materials he downloaded from the hacked accounts.

While the case was filed by prosecutors in Los Angeles, the parties have agreed to transfer the case to the District of CT for the entry of Garofano's guilty plea and sentencing.

In the past, the Oscar-winner Lawrence has called the photo hacking a "sex crime". "It's disgusting. The law needs to be changed, and we need to change", she told Vanity Fair in 2014.

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