A celebrity hacker has been jailed for nine months after breaking into the online accounts of at least 30 stars and stealing nude photos along with other private information.
The US court also ordered Edward Majerczyk to pay $5,700 (£4,550) for counselling services for one un- disclosed celebrity victim whose photos were disseminated online.
The Chicago hacker, 29, was accused of involvement in a phishing scheme that illegally accessed more than 300 email and other online accounts, believed to include those belonging to actress Jennifer Lawrence.
No victims were named in court documents. But the investigation began after the Oscar winner and other celebrities, including actress Kirsten Dunst and model Kate Upton, complained in interviews about having their private photos appear on the internet.
A Chicago federal court yesterday passed sentence on Majerczyk, who pleaded guilty last year to felony computer hacking charges. He will begin his sentence on February 27.
His attorney Thomas Needham wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed last week: “At the time of the offence Mr Majerczyk was suffering from depression.
“He looked to pornography websites and internet chat rooms in an attempt to fill some of the voids and disappointment he was feeling in his life.” Mr Needham added that Majerczyk had “consistently expressed remorse” for the hacking.
Both the US Justice Department and Mr Needham said investigators had not uncovered any evidence that linked Majerczyk to the act- ual leaks. His attorney said the hacked material was for Majerczyk’s personal use and viewing.
According to a plea agreement, the accused illegally accessed accounts on Apple iCloud and Google Gmail accounts belonging to more than 300 people.
It was said that he used an email “phishing” ploy to obtain their user names and passwords.
In October Ryan Collins, 36, of Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 18 months’ jail for stealing nude photographs of stars in what became known as Celebgate.