A third person has agreed to plead guilty in the hacking of nude photos of nearly 100 celebrities, which leaked online in 2014.
Emilio Herrera, 32, of Chicago, signed a plea to a felony violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. According to the plea, he used a phishing scam to gain access to 550 Gmail and iCloud accounts, including approximately 40 accounts of male and female celebrities.
Federal authorities have already brought cases against Ryan Collins of Lancaster, Penn., who was sentenced to 18 months in prison last year, and Edward Majerczyk, of Chicago, who got nine months in jail.
All three operated similarly. According to prosecutors, from April 2013 to August 2014, Herrera sent emails to his victims that appeared to be from security accounts associated with Apple, Hotmail, and Yahoo!, among other providers. The emails asked for login credentials. He would then use the credentials to access their Gmail and iCloud accounts, and used software such as Elcomsoft to download photos and videos stored on iCloud.
According to the plea, Herrera intended to keep the photos to himself. Prosecutors say there is no evidence he uploaded this material to the internet.
He also hacked into the accounts of many non-celebrities. According to the plea, he accessed a neighbor’s Gmail account 495 times.
The celebrities whose photos were leaked online include Kirsten Dunst, Jennifer Lawrence, and Kate Upton.