Federal prosecutors announced charges today against 23-year-old Alonzo Knowles, a Bahamas resident who stands accused of hacking into the e-mail accounts of celebrities and entertainment studios, then trying to sell off unreleased scripts, audio tracks, and personal information that he obtained.
Investigators lured Knowles to the US, where he had been hoping to sell purloined movie scripts along with scripts for six episodes of a TV series. Instead, once Knowles asked an undercover officer for $80,000, he was arrested.
Prosecutors say Knowles had other information from celebrity hacks as well, including the e-mail addresses and phone numbers of "at least 130" entertainment, sports, and media figures. In one exchange, Knowles sent the undercover agent the passport, Social Security number (SSN), and other personal identification "of a particular film actor." Another time, Knowles offered to sell sexually explicit photos and videos from a celebrity account. At one point the complaint says he tried to sell "a very popular A-list celebrity SSN along with 30 unreleased tracks towards their upcoming album."