| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Dec 6 A Bahamian man was sentenced to
five years in U.S. prison on Tuesday for hacking into
celebrities' email accounts to steal unreleased film and
television scripts, personal information and sexually explicit
videos in order to sell them.
Alonzo Knowles, who maintained a list of 130 celebrities'
emails and phone numbers, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge
Paul Engelmayer in Manhattan. He pleaded guilty in May to
charges of criminal copyright infringement and identity theft.
"You have some obvious facility for computers," Engelmayer
said. "But you chose to use your gifts for dark and nefarious
Prosecutors said Knowles, of Freeport, Bahamas, accessed the
accounts of actresses, musicians and others by sending their
computers a virus or by emailing a fake notification that their
account had been hacked and asking for their passwords.
Knowles stole at least 25 unreleased movie and television
scripts, as well as music, financial documents and nude and
intimate images and videos, prosecutors said.
The identities of most of the celebrities who were
victimized have not been revealed. But one was Naturi Naughton,
who stars in the Starz network series "Power" and who in a video
submission to the court said she felt "violated."
Among the scripts Knowles stole was one for "All Eyez On
Me," an upcoming biopic of Tupac Shakur, who died in a 1996
shooting, the film's production company has said. He also stole
scripts for two Twenty-First Century Fox Inc properties.
The investigation began last December after a radio host
received an unsolicited offer from someone for scripts of a TV
drama's upcoming season, prompting him to contact the show's
executive producer, prosecutors said.
The investigation led to Knowles, who in video conference
calls told an undercover U.S. Department of Homeland Security
agent he had "exclusive content" worth "hundreds of thousands of
dollars," prosecutors said.
Knowles was arrested on Dec. 21, 2015, after flying to New
York to try to sell the agent numerous scripts and several
individuals' personal information for $80,000, prosecutors said.
(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler)