A hacker who stole sexually explicit videos of celebrities as well as unreleased scripts, music tracks and industry secrets has been slapped with a five-year prison sentence – almost double than was expected after he was reported to be bragging of plans to profit from his actions.
Alonzo Knowles, 24, from the Bahamas was sentenced by a New York federal court on 7 December after he was found to be guilty of hacking into hundreds of celebrities and athletes email accounts to unlawfully obtain confidential and private documents. Knowles pleaded guilty and was hoping for a 14-month jail term, however, he was given nearly double that of federal sentencing guidelines after it was discovered that he had been bragging in prison about selling his secrets.
In comparison, Ryan Collins, the Celebgate hacker who stole nude photos from the iCloud accounts of high-profile actresses including Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton was given an 18-month sentence in 2015.
Despite handing over the hacked data – including scripts for TV show Starz, which ultimately led to his arrest during a sting where he attempted to sell them to an undercover buyer – Knowles sent emails from prison claiming he was going to release a book with material that would "shake up Hollywood".
According to reports Knowles detailed in emails that he was planning to name drop a number of celebrities he hacked and dish out "juicy" information "that ain't public" in a book he wanted to sell for $35 each.
The emails, which were monitored by the Bureau of Prisons, further indicted Knowles as he wrote: "I can't wait to get out, I already know how the cover is going to look". It was also claimed he planned to hack into Twitter accounts to promote the book.
Despite Knowles' lawyer defending these were empty claims the judge in charge of the trial found them "troubling" and felt he was a "clear and present danger to commit the very same crime again" therefore a longer-than-expected prison sentence was handed.
Apart from singer/actress Naturi Naughton and a 20th Century Fox executive providing statements, the names of the other individuals targeted by the hack have not been revealed but it is understood to span actors, athletes, musicians, media industry executives.