I hacked Hollywood celebrity emails to steal movie, TV scripts says Bahamian man
A Bahamian man pleaded guilty Monday to hacking into celebrities’ email accounts to steal unreleased movie and TV scripts, a crime that prosecutors say could have caused great harm to networks and movie studios if he had succeeded in selling them for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Alonzo Knowles, 24, of Freeport, entered the plea in federal court to criminal copyright infringement and identity theft charges, bringing a speedy conclusion to a case that resulted in his December arrest in Manhattan.
Prosecutors say he was peddling personal information from at least 130 celebrities in the entertainment, sports and media industries and claimed he also could sell private sexually explicit photographs and videos.
Knowles flew from the Bahamas to New York City to sell 15 scripts and personal information on several celebrities for $80,000 to a law enforcement agent posing as an interested buyer. Prosecutors said he showed the agent sexually explicit materials of one celebrity as he revealed samples of materials he hoped to sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The government said the investigation began after Knowles contacted a radio show host offering to sell scripts to a popular television show. The host contacted the show and the network, and those entities contacted law enforcement.
A plea agreement recommended Judge Paul A. Engelmayer send Knowles to prison for between 27 months and 33 months at a sentencing scheduled for Aug. 25.