Ryan Collins recently agreed to plead guilty to charges of computer hacking stemming from his theft of personal information, including nude photographs, from a number of female celebrities.
In order to gain access to the victims’ private photographs, Collins used a “phishing” scheme: he emailed the victims from accounts that appeared to belong to Apple or Google technical support and asked the recipients to supply him with their usernames and passwords. Collins reportedly stole private photographs that had been stored on at least 72 Gmail accounts and 50 iCloud accounts, many of which belonged to famous Hollywood movie stars, TV stars, musicians and models.
One celebrity who spoke out about the nude photo leak was Jennifer Lawrence, the star of major box office hits like “The Hunger Games” and “American Hustle.” Lawrence said that she felt like the victim of a sex crime after her private photographs were posted all over the Internet.
David Bowdich, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, suggested that Lawrence was not alone in feeling victimized as a result of the nude photo leak. Bowdich said that Collins violated the victims’ privacy “and left many to contend with lasting emotional distress, embarrassment and feelings of insecurity.”
Although federal prosecutors are expected to recommend that Collins be sentenced to a prison term of 18 months for his crimes, the U.S. District Court judge will not be bound by the terms of the plea agreement. This means that it’s possible that the judge could impose a sentence of up to five years in federal prison.
For more information about the Celebgate hacking scandal, read the Billboard.com article, “Man Admits Stealing Nude Photos of Jennifer Lawrence & More Stars.”
If you have been accused of illegal computer hacking, an Internet sex crime or any other criminal offense in New Jersey, you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense lawyer immediately. The aggressive criminal defense attorneys at Rudnick, Addonizio, Pappa & Casazza PC will help you fight the criminal charges and avoid the most severe penalties. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case.