News: Alonzo Knowles was charged with identity theft.
A 23-year-old man from the Bahamas has been charged for unlawfully accessing celebrities’ email accounts to steal and sell upcoming movie and television show scripts, personal identification data, and private videos.
Alonzo Knowles was arrested and charged with one count of felony criminal copyright infringement and one count of identity theft.
Investigators uncovered the scheme earlier this month when an executive producer of a television series told them that a radio host disclosed that the host had received an unsolicited offer to sell scripts to the series.
Knowles is accused of telling to an undercover law enforcement agent that he had exclusive content that was worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Knowles allegedly showed the agent a list of e-mail addresses and phone numbers of about 130 such individuals and offered to sell sexually explicit images and videos stolen from the personal accounts.
He provided the agent with images and a video clip he had stolen from a radio host’s account.
Knowles also provided a copy of the passport and social security number of a film actor and claimed to use two different methods to gain unlawful access to accounts.
He used to send a virus to the victim’s computer which enabled him to access it and the other method included emailing a false notification that the victim’s email account had been hacked, and ask them for the passcodes.
Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara said: "This case has all of the elements of the kind of blockbuster script the defendant, Alonzo Knowles, is alleged to have stolen: hacks into celebrities’ private emails, identity theft, and attempts to sell victims’ information to the highest bidder. Unfortunately, these circumstances are all too real."