The fourth celebrity hacker—who was charged earlier this year with hacking into over 250 Apple iCloud accounts belonged to Jennifer Lawrence and other Hollywood celebrities—has been sentenced to eight months in prison.
Earlier this year, George Garofano, 26, of North Branford, admitted to illegally obtaining credentials of his victims’ iCloud accounts using a phishing scheme, carried out from April 2013 to October 2014, in which he posed as a member of Apple’s security team and tricked victims into revealing their iCloud credentials.
Using stolen credentials, Garofano then managed to steal victims’ personal information, including their sensitive and intimate photographs and videos, from their iCloud accounts, and then leaked them on online forums, like 4Chan.
Among the victims were Jennifer Lawrence, Kim Kardashian, Kirsten Dunst, Kate Upton, American Olympic gold medallist Misty May Treanor and actors Alexandra Chando, Kelli Garner and Lauren O’Neil.
While prosecutors asked for a sentence of at least 10 to 16 months in prison, Garofano’s lawyer requested the judge to give his client a lighter sentence of five months in prison and another five months of home confinement.
However, a federal judge at the US district court in Bridgeport on Wednesday sentenced Garofano to 8 months in prison and 3 years of supervised release after his prison term is over.
Garofano is one of the four hackers who stole and leaked celebrities’ nude photographs in the 2014 event, which is well known as “The Fappening” or “Celebgate” scandal.
The other three Celebgate hackers had already been sentenced for their roles in the celebrity photo hack:
- Edward Majerczyk, 28, was sentenced to nine months in prison after pleading guilty to felony hacking and violating Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
- Ryan Collins, 36, was sentenced to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to the same.
- Emilio Herrera, 32, pled guilty to the same but is still awaiting his sentencing.
While the US Attorney says there’s no evidence that Majerczyk, Collins, or Herrera shared or posted the stolen photos online, prosecutors allege that Garofano, in some instances, also traded the stolen iCloud credentials and the victims’ intimate images with other people.
Garofano, who is released on a $50,000 bond, will surrender on October 10, 2018, to serve his prison sentence.
The judge has also ordered Garofano to perform 60 hours of community service while he is on supervised release.