How many years in prison should someone get for stealing photos? How about if the people whose photos were stolen are super-sexy celebrities, their pictures show them naked, and the photos end up on the Internet for the world to see?
A judge can decide on up to 60 years when sentencing 35-year-old hacker Christopher Chaney, the Associated Press reported. Chaney, an unemployed Jacksonville, Fla., resident, pleaded guilty yesterday (March 26) to stealing nude pics from the email accounts of Scarlett Johansson, Mila Kunis and dozens of others.
Chaney also could be ordered to pay a $2.2 million fine plus restitution of between $15,000 and $400,000 to his victims. Sentencing is scheduled for July 23.
Chaney was arrested in October 2011 as part of a yearlong FBI investigation called " Operation Hackerazzi " and was charged with 26 federal counts pertaining to identity theft, unauthorized access and damage to a protected computer, and wiretapping.
According to federal authorities, Chaney used social networks and publicly available information to guess the answers to the identity-verification questions of several celebrities' email accounts. One of those notable celebrities was Scarlett Johansson, whose self-shot nude pictures hit the Web Sept. 14.
Chaney illegally accessed more than 50 celebrities' email accounts between November 2010 and last October. Jessica Alba, Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus, Vanessa Hudgens, Demi Lovato and Ali Larter are all thought to be victims of Chaney.
Prosecutors said Chaney also scoured his targets' contacts list to find other stars to hack and changed his victims' email settings so that copies of their emails were automatically forwarded to an address he could access.
In one instance, Chaney posed as a Christina Aguilera's stylist, Simone Harouche, and sent an email asking the singer for "scantily clad photographs," prosecutors said.
Although Chaney passed on many of the naked pics he stole to celebrity gossip websites, there is no evidence he profited from the pictures.
In a statement to the Associated Press, Johansson said, "I have confidence that justice will prevail and that the court will set a precedent for a 'no tolerance policy' in regards to identity theft, computer hacking and invasion of privacy."