Prison for hacker who stole celebrities’ nude photos, videos

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania man has been sentenced to a year and a half in prison for hacking into the email and online accounts of several female celebrities and stealing private information, including nude photos and videos.

Ryan Collins, 36, of Lancaster, was sentenced Wednesday by a federal judge in Harrisburg to the prison term prosecutors agreed to recommend as part of a plea bargain.

Collins, a married father of 4-year-old twins, was a pornography addict who acknowledged getting involved in the hacking activity “for sexual gratification,” according to pre-sentencing memos filed by prosecutors and his attorney.

Collins’ wife, a hospital psychologist, has stuck by him and “remains incredibly supportive” and has participated in his addiction counseling, according to the defense memo.

Collins pleaded guilty in May to one count of gaining unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information for gaining access to more than 100 Google and Apple accounts from November 2012 to September 2014.

Many of the accounts belonged to famous women, though no celebrities were identified in his plea agreement and the FBI could find no evidence that Collins posted any of the pilfered images online or shared any information he obtained with others, court records show.

Collins was charged as part of an investigation into the posting of nude photos of numerous celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence and model Kate Upton, but he is not suspected of being involved in releasing those images.

Instead, Collins was found to have collected the nude photos when federal agents searched nationwide after a celebrity internet photo leak discovered in August and September 2014. The investigation into who stole and posted images of Lawrence and dozens of other female stars is ongoing.

Collins obtained the photos he collected by sending phishing emails to victims, which enabled him to access their Apple and Gmail accounts. He also ran a separate scam in which he solicited nude photos online by tricking women into believing he could hire them for modeling jobs, prosecutors said.

 

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