Ryan Collins, the man who set off a media circus when he illegally hacked into the online accounts of Hollywood celebrities and stole their private nude photos, is headed to federal prison after pleading guilty to charges of illegally accessing a protected computer.
Collins, a 36-year-old resident of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, recently appeared in federal court in Harrisburg PA and admitted to gaining unauthorized access to more than 100 online accounts. The illegal hacking occurred over a two-year period, from November 2012 to September 2014, and targeted famous female celebrities.
The victims of the hacking included Hollywood actresses, musicians and reality TV stars. Actress Jennifer Lawrence and model Kate Upton were two of the highest-profile victims of Collins. Lawrence was particularly vocal about feeling like a sex crime victim after her private nude photographs were circulated on the Internet.
The ensuing scandal generated salacious media headlines and became known as “Celebgate” and “The Fappening.”
Although Collins was not found to be responsible for releasing the photos on the Internet, he was ultimately held responsible for stealing the photographs in the first place.
Collins reportedly gained access to the Apple and Google accounts of the female victims by using a very basic “phishing” scheme. Basically, Collins tricked his victims into providing him with their personal information by sending emails and asking them to type their usernames and passwords.
When Collins appears in federal court at a later date for formal sentencing, it is expected that he will be sentenced to multiple years in prison. Under the terms of a plea agreement reached with federal prosecutors, Collins will likely avoid the maximum penalties in the case.
For more information about this high-profile criminal case, read the Yahoo.com article, “Hacker Pleads Guilty to Stealing Nude Photos of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and More Celebs.”
If you or a loved one has been accused of a sex crime, an assault crime or any other criminal offense in New Jersey, it is imperative that you speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney. The experienced criminal defense lawyers at Lombardi and Lombardi, P.A. can help you answer the criminal charges and avoid the most severe penalties. Contact us today to arrange a free consultation about your case.