Bahamian hacked into stars' e-mail

NEW YORK • A Bahamian man has been arrested for hacking into celebrities' e-mail accounts to steal movie and television scripts, personal information and sexually explicit videos that he peddled to an undercover agent, federal prosecutors in New York said on Tuesday.

Alonzo Knowles, 23, was held without bail after an appearance in Manhattan federal court on criminal copyright infringement and identity theft charges.

Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara said the case had the elements of the type of blockbuster scripts Knowles is alleged to have stolen. "Unfortunately, these circumstances are all too real."

He kept at least 130 celebrities' e-mail messages and phone numbers, said a criminal complaint, which noted that his victims included actors, a casting director, a popular singer-songwriter and a hip-hop artist. Prosecutors did not identify the celebrities, movies or shows involved.

He was arrested in Manhattan on Monday, a day after arriving from the Bahamas to sell the undercover agent 15 scripts for unreleased movies and TV shows for US$80,000 (S$112,500), prosecutors said.

He had e-mailed the agent sexually explicit videos and photos that a TV host and columnist had sent to a radio host, the complaint said. The probe began after another radio host this month received an unsolicited offer from someone selling scripts for the upcoming season of a popular drama on a premium cable TV network, it added.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 24, 2015, with the headline 'Bahamian hacked into stars' e-mail'. Print Edition | Subscribe