CT man charged with hacking celebrity accounts

Sheri Evans
January 14, 2018

A CT man pleaded guilty to charges of hacking into over 250 iCloud accounts as part of a phishing campaign that resulted in nude photographs of female celebrities being posted on the public internet.

The North Branford man agreed to plead guilty to unauthorized access to a protected computer.

While the case was filed by federal prosecutors in Los Angeles, the parties have agreed to transfer the case to the District of CT for the entry of Garofano's guilty plea and sentencing.

According to a new report, 26-year-old George Garofano was charged on January 10 with utilizing a phishing scheme in order to hack into hundreds of iCloud accounts, with many belonging to celebrities.

Authorities did not say if Garofano worked with the other three, but said that between April 2013 through October 2014 Garafono used phishing emails posing as Apple's security department to trick victims into giving in their iCloud credentials.

Passwords were then used to access the women's accounts and steal intimate photographs.

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The charge against Garofano stems from an investigation into the leaks of nude photos of dozens of female celebrities in September 2014, which came to be known as 'celebgate'.

Prosecutors said that in some instances, Garofano traded passwords with other individuals. Although many of Garofano's victims were members of the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, many non-celebrities who live in CT were also victimized.

The case against Garofano is the fourth case stemming from the Celebgate investigation. Emilio Herrera, 32, pleaded guilty previous year and will be sentenced next month for illegally accessing over 550 iCloud accounts. Ryan Collins, 36, also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months a year ago.

A man from Northford is the one of the suspects behind a 2014 hack of private online celebrity photos, according to federal prosecutors.

None of the four arrested suspects wanted to admit to this charge as some of the photos leaked during the Fappening were made when some of the celebrities were under age, and a charge of distributing child pornography would carry a substantial prison sentence.

Majerczyk was sentenced to nine months in prison, while Collins was sentenced to 18 months.

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