George Garofano, 26, one of the four hackers responsible for illegally hacking private accounts of over two hundred people, including Hollywood icons, has been sentenced to eight months in jail.
Garofano pleaded guilty in April and asked for leniency, admitting to having sent out emails to the victims while posing as an Apple staffer in order to gain passwords of female celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst, Kate Upton, etc.
“Mr. Garofano’s 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 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’,” the prosecution wrote in a sentencing memo.
Additionally, Garofano will serve 36 months of supervised release; the three other perpetrators, Ryan Collins, Edward Majerczyk and Emililo Herrera, have already been sentenced to terms of up to 18 months in jail.
After nude photos of the Hunger Games star flooded the internet along with intimate pictures of some 100 other celebrities, Lawrence gave an interview to Vanity Fair, describing the incident as a “sex crime” and called for the laws to be changed, expressing anger and frustration about what had happened.
“Just because I’m a public figure, just because I’m an actress, does not mean that I asked for this. It does not mean that it comes with the territory. It’s my body, and it should be my choice, and the fact that it is not my choice is absolutely disgusting,” she told the magazine at the time.
Apple, for its part, came under fire for failing to secure private information on its cloud storage service, although the tech giant dismissed the accusations, saying that that was a “very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions.”
“None of the cases we have investigated has resulted from any breach in any of Apple’s systems including iCloud or Find my iPhone,” the company said at the time.
The 2014 scandal was not the first time that explicit pics of celebrities have been leaked: in 2012, a hacker was sentenced to 10 years in prison for stealing Scarlett Johansson and Mila Kunis’ private images and posting them online.