Bahamian-born hackers Alonzo Knowles may now be facing up to 10 years in prison, after pleading guilty in Mahattan federal court to identity theft and criminal copyright infringement.
According to the indictment, Knowles, 24, hacked into personal e-mail accounts of industry leaders in the entertainment, sports, and media, taking copyrighted and confidential documents, including scripts, personal identifying information. Once obtaining his victim’s electronic passcodes, Knowles, unbeknownst to the victim, would change the settings in the victim’s e-mail account in order to continue to access to it. In order to avoid detection from the victim, Knowles would delete notifications from the e-mail service provider regarding changes to the settings of the victim’s e-mail account,” court documents stated.
“His crimes did not end with this frightening invasion of privacy, as Knowles then sought to sell what he stole, including unreleased movie and television scripts, to the highest bidder,” the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara said after the conviction on Monday.
He was arrested following a sting operation that began in December last year, when he tried to sell the stolen property to an undercover agent.
Knowles will be sentenced on August 25.