Celebrity hacker pleads guilty to charges

Alonzo Knowles stole explicit celebrity videos and unpublished film scripts

A hacker who stole explicit celebrity videos and unpublished film scripts has pleaded guilty to the charges.

Alonzo Knowles also stole TV scripts and personal information, unreleased music and other content by tricking the data's owners.

He managed to get hold of the files and photos by texting celebrities, telling them their accounts had been compromised and asked for their passwords so he could rectify the situation. Although the celebrities involved haven't been named, it is thought he managed to successfully scam around 130 film and TV actors, musicians and production staff and illegally access their information.

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The hack was uncovered only when Knowles contacted a New York radio host in December last year offering to sell him personal information and the first six episodes of a popular TV drama.

The host's executive producer alerted the Department of Homeland Security and an undercover agent set up a call with Knowles, who promised to provide "exclusive content" worth "hundreds of thousands of dollars," including copies of scripts for an unfilmed documentary and a new TV show.

He also said he could provide the celebrity social security numbers, their email addresses, passports and other confidential information, plus 15 movie and TV scripts for the princely sum of $80,000 (55,429).

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The agents organised to meet the 23-year-old Bahamian in New York and, following the meeting, he was arrested.

Knowles pleaded guilty to charges of criminal copyright infringement and identity theft in a New York court earlier this week and agreed to hand over the 25 unpublished scripts, stolen music and $1,900 (1,316) in cash as part of his guilty plea. His sentencing will take place on 25 August.



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