Celeb-gate Hacker Goes to the Slammer for 18 Months

Celeb-justice watch: One of the “Celebgate” nude-photo thieves is going to spend 18 months in US federal prison.

Ryan Collins, 36, of Lancaster, Penn. has been sentenced on felony computer hacking charges related to his illegal access of over 100 Apple and Google e-mail accounts, including those belonging to members of the entertainment industry in Los Angeles. All of this is related to the 2014 leaks of photographs of numerous female celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence, Rihanna and Avril Lavigne.

In May, the dad-of-two (!!! You never know what that white picket fence is hiding.) pleaded guilty to a felony violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and to one count of unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information.

“From November 2012 until the beginning of September 2014, Collins engaged in a sophisticated phishing scheme to obtain usernames and passwords for his victims,” said the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, in a statement. “He sent e-mails to victims that appeared to be from Apple or Google and asked victims to provide their usernames and passwords.”

When the victims responded, Collins then had access to the victims' e-mail accounts.  After illegally accessing the e-mail accounts, Collins obtained personal information including nude photographs and videos.  In some instances, Collins would use a software program to download the entire contents of the victims' Apple iCloud backups.

 In addition, Collins ran a modeling scam in which he tricked his victims into sending him nude photographs.

Nice guy, huh?

Investigators identified over 600 victims. By illegally accessing the e-mail accounts, Collins accessed at least 50 iCloud accounts and 72 Gmail accounts, many of which belonged to female celebrities.

Prosecutors don’t know who actually posted the nude pics online and instigated the privacy-killing bonanza, but several men have been caught in the FBI’s investigative web on this. For instance, Edward Majerczyk entered a guilty plea in July for similar activity. 

Photo © Antonio Guillem

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