NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Tuesday, December 22, 2015, 6:17 PM
Preet Bharara compared the hack to a “blockbuster script,” but called it “all too real.”
A Bahamas-based hacker was busted for trying to sell scripts, personal information and sexually explicit pictures and videos of celebrities that he stole from his famous victims’ personal email accounts, authorities said Tuesday.
Alonzo Knowles, 23, of Freeport, Bahama, was arrested in Manhattan Monday after trying to sell scripts to an undercover agent, according to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
Knowles tried selling scripts from a hit TV show to an unidentified radio host, and also offered to sell sexually explicit images and videos that he had stolen from the personal email accounts of various celebrities and sports figures to undercover agents, prosecutors said.
“This case has all of the elements of the kind of blockbuster script the defendant, Alonzo Knowles, is alleged to have stolen: hacks into celebrities’ private emails, identity theft, and attempts to sell victims’ information to the highest bidder. Unfortunately, these circumstances are all too real,” Bharara said.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations began looking into Knowles, also known as Jeff Moxey, this month after a tip from an unnamed radio host.
The radio host contacted the producer of a show after Knowles offered to sell him scripts of unproduced episodes of a popular hit show.
None of Knowles victims were named by prosecutors.
The hacker allegedly gained access to his victims’ emails by sending a “virus” to their computer.
The celebrity-obsessed cyber criminal told an undercover agent earlier this month that he had “exclusive content” that was “really profitable” and worth “hundreds of thousands of dollars,” during a videoconference, according to authorities.
He also offered to sell the agent “a very popular A-list celebrity ssn along with 30 unreleased tracks towards their upcoming album.”
Knowles would gain access to his victims’ emails by sending a “virus” to their computer or by emailing a false notification stating that the their email account had been hacked, and asking for passcodes.
On Monday, an undercover cop met with Knowles and the hacker offered to hand over approximately 15 movie and television scripts and Social Security Numbers of three professional athletes and a movie actress in exchange for $ 80,000.
Knowles was charged with one count of felony criminal copyright infringement and one count of identity theft and was expected to appear in Federal court Tuesday.