Hacker sentenced to prison for role in Jennifer Lawrence nude photo theft

George Garofano, 26, one of four charged over illegal hacking of American actor and other celebrities

A hacker was sentenced to eight months in prison on Wednesday for a scheme that exposed intimate photos of the actor Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities.

George Garofano, 26, was accused of illegally hacking the private Apple iCloud accounts of 240 people, including Hollywood stars as well as average internet users, allowing their nude photos and private information to be spread around the internet.

He was one of four people charged in the 2014 hacking scandal, in which private photos of Lawrence, Kate Upton, Kirsten Dunst and others were published online.

Lawrence said at the time the invasion was equivalent to a sex crime, and called for tougher laws.

A federal judge at a US district court in Bridgeport, Connecticut, ordered Garofano to serve the prison term followed by three years of supervised release.

He had pleaded guilty in April, admitting that he sent emails to the victims while posing as a member of Apples online security personnel in order to obtain their usernames and passwords.

Prosecutors argued for a sentence of 10 to 16 months in prison, in line with federal guidelines. Garofano asked for leniency, requesting no more than five months in prison and another five months of home confinement.

The prosecution wrote in a sentencing memo to the court: Mr Garofanos 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.

But Garofano said he has already suffered serious consequences and has cleaned up his act since the hacking spree, which began when he was in college.

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 three other hackers have already been sentenced, to terms between nine months and 18 months in prison.

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