CT man to plead guilty in 'Celebgate' hacking case

Alfred Osborne
January 13, 2018

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George Garofano, from North Branford, agreed to plead guilty Thursday to unauthorized access to a protected computer and faces up to five years in prison.

According to the Feds, between April 2013 and October 2014, Garofano was part of a creepy crew who sent fake Apple technical support emails to celebs and those who worked for them, tricking many of their marks into handing over their iCloud passwords, either by social engineering or by directing them to a phishing website.

He then used the pilfered passwords to enter accounts and steal private pictures and videos, the DoJ said. In some cases, Garofano traded the usernames and passwords, as well as the materials he stole from the victims, with other individuals, the plea agreement states.

Private photos of Lawrence, Anna Kendrick, Kate Upton and Kirsten Dunst and others were leaked on the internet in 2014, leading to criminal charges against four cyber-culprits found to have been involved. They quickly circulated online, including on popular messageboards such as Reddit and 4Chan.

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A CT man accused in the so-called "Celebgate" nude photo hacking scandal that victimized Hollywood stars such as Jennifer Lawrence has agreed to plead guilty.

Chicago resident Emilio Herrera has pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced next month after federal prosecutors charged him in a phishing scheme that gave him illegal access to more than 550 Apple iCloud and Gmail accounts.

Though many victims were celebrities in Los Angeles, prosecutors said a number of victims were non-celebrities in CT.

Garofano now joins Emilio Herrera, Edward Majerczyk and Ryan Collins among the suspects that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been able to identify as having hacked into the celebrities' digital accounts in 2013 and 2014.

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