A North Branford man was sentenced to eight months in prison Wednesday for his role in a phishing scheme that involved hacking into more than 250 iCloud accounts of Hollywood stars and other people, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Connecticut.
George Garofano was one of four men arrested in the 2014 “celebgate” hacking scandal that led to private photos of Jennifer Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst, Kate Upton and others being made public.
According to court documents, Garofano admitted to sending emails to victims that appeared to be from security accounts of Apple, asking the victims to send usernames and passwords, or enter them on a third-party website. Garofano would then use the information to access the victims’ iCloud accounts and steal personal information, including private photos and videos. In some cases, he traded the usernames or other personal information with other people.
Some of the victims were celebrities in California, but many non-celebrities from Connecticut were also victims.
The case began when the FBI conducted an investigation into leaked photographs of multiple female celebrities in September 2014. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California filed the charges, and the case was transferred to the district of Connecticut.
Garofano pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information. He was sentenced to eight months in prison and three years of supervised release. He was also ordered to perform 60 hours of community service.