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Man who stole celebrity nude photos to plead guilty

Georgia residents who were following the "Celebgate" photo hack may be interested to learn that, on March 16, one man may have been involved agreed to plead guilty to a felony violation under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The alleged hacker, a 36-year-old Pennsylvania man, was reportedly one of many who was able to trick their way into numerous email accounts owned by celebrities.

The FBI tracked the man down as part of ongoing investigations into the 2014 photo hack. It was believed that about 100 celebrities had their accounts broken into and had personal photos and videos stolen. Those who were affected included Jennifer Lawrence, Rihanna, Kim Kardashian.

The man reportedly used a "phishing scheme" to gain access to their personal accounts in order to steal nude photographs and videos. He accessed 72 gmail accounts and 50 iCloud accounts. Authorities reported that there was no evidence to indicate that the photographs and other intimate digital belongings that the man stole were shared or uploaded to other sites. Regardless, a U.S. attorney stated that accessing private information without permission was still a criminal offense.

A person who is charged with felonies could potentially face a long prison sentence and other severe consequences if convicted. In some cases, a conviction could prevent them from seeking employment, loans or higher education opportunities in the future. As such, the advice and counsel of a criminal defense attorney can often be crucial when determining how to combat the charges. One possibility in the case of an Internet crime could be to challenge the search that led to the seizure of the evidence as lacking probable cause.

Source: USA Today, "Pennsylvania man pleads guilty to 'Celebgate' nude-photo hack", Maria Puente, March 16, 2016

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