Hacker George Garafano was sentenced yesterday to eight months in prison for a scheme that exposed intimate photos of Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities.
The 26 year old was one of four men arrested in the 2014 hacking scandal referred to as ‘celebgate’ in which private photos of Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst, and Kate Upton among others were published online.
A federal judge at a US district court in Bridgeport, Connecticut, ordered that Garofano have three years of supervised release after his imprisonment and serve 60 hours of community service.
He had pleaded guilty in April, admitting that he used a phishing scheme that sent emails to victims appearing to be from Apple security accounts asking for usernames and passwords. He would then use the information to access the victims’ iCloud accounts and steal personal information, including private photos and videos.
Two of the other hackers have already been sentenced for their roles in the nude leak, one of whom received nine months while the other received twelve. The fourth man involved is scheduled to be sentenced this month.
Earlier this month, Garafano begged a judge for a shorter sentence after claiming his “life has been ruined” by the scandal.
In a court filing, he said: “It will take me a while to forgive myself for this, and I am disappointed in myself.
“I feel remorse for anyone that could have been affected by this on any scale, public or private.
“It is a part of my life that I will always regret, as it has never been a reflection of who I am as an individual.”
“He now stands before the court having matured, accepting responsibility for his actions and having not been in trouble with the law since,” defense attorney Richard Lynch wrote. “There is nothing to suggest that he would ever engage in this or any other criminal conduct in the future.”
The prosecution wrote in a sentencing memo to the court: “Mr Garofano’s offense was a serious one. He illegally hacked into his victims’ online accounts, invaded their privacy, and stole their personal information, including private and intimate photos. He did not engage in this conduct on just one occasion. He engaged in this conduct 240 times over the course of 18 months.
“Not only did Mr Garofano keep for himself the photographs he stole, he disseminated them to other individuals. He may have also sold them to others to earn ‘extra income’.”
It added: “In committing this offense, Mr Garofano acted in complete and utter disregard for the impact on his victims’ lives.”