Bahamas Man Charged With Stealing Scripts by Hacking Celebritiesby
Alonzo Knowles was arrested Monday after undercover meeting
Knowles claimed to have hacked dozens of celebrities
A Bahamas man was charged with trying to sell scripts for future movies and television shows as well as sexually explicit videos of celebrities, sports personalities and people in the media industries that he had stolen by hacking into their e-mail accounts.
Alonzo Knowles, 23, of Freeport, was arrested Monday in Manhattan after offering to sell an undercover officer about 15 movie and television scripts for $80,000 that he said he had stolen from the victims, federal prosecutors in New York said in a statement.
Authorities said they were contacted earlier this month by representatives of an unidentified cable and satellite television network, who said a popular radio host received an unsolicited offer from a person who proposed to sell scripts for a future episode of a TV series.
The radio host then introduced an undercover officer to Knowles, who said during a video chat that he had "exclusive content" worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and showed the officer a list of e-mail addresses and phone numbers of at least 130 people, prosecutors said.
Knowles also offered to sell the officer sexually explicit images and videos that he had stolen - as well as the Social Security number of a "very popular A-list celebrity" and 30 unreleased tracks from the person’s unreleased album, according to prosecutors.
"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 e-mails, identity theft and attempts to sell victims’ information to the highest bidder," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.
Knowles is charged with one count of felony criminal copyright infringement and one count of identity theft, each of which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.