Alonzo Knowles a 23 year old Bahamas man has been charged with hacking celebrity emails to steal scripts and sex tapes that he unwittingly tried to sell to an undercover agent.
According to federal prosecutors Knowles kept of at least 130 celebrities’ emails and phone numbers, a criminal complaint filed on Tuesday told. The man’s victims included movie and TV actors, a casting director, a popular singer-songwriter and a hip-hop artist.
The complaint against Knowles told of the man gaining 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.
Prosecutors to date have declined to identify the celebrities, movies or shows involved.
Since his arrest, Alonzo Knowles has been held without bail on charges of criminal copyright infringement and identity theft charges.
Manhattan U.S. 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 said in a statement.
Responding to the charges against him, Clay Kaminsky a court-appointed lawyer told his client took the charges ‘extremely seriously’.
Knowles’ arrest came on Monday in Manhattan, a day after arriving from the Bahamas to sell an undercover agent 15 scripts for unreleased movies and TV shows for $80,000, told prosecutors.
The complaint against Knowles noted the man emailing the agent sexually explicit videos and photos that a television host and columnist had sent to a radio host.
The probe began after another radio host earlier this month received an unsolicited offer from someone selling scripts for the upcoming season of a popular drama on a premium cable television network.
The probe against the celebrity-obsessed cyber criminal would go on in overdrive after the man told an undercover agent earlier this month that he had ‘exclusive content‘ that was ‘really profitable‘ and worth ‘hundreds of thousands of dollars’.
At the time, Knowles is alleged to have offered to sell the agent ‘a very popular A-list celebrity ssn along with 30 unreleased tracks towards their upcoming album.’
At the court hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristy Greenberg argued against releasing Knowles, a resident of Freeport, Bahamas, on bail, calling him a flight risk and a danger to the community.
‘The scope of the crime here is potentially quite large,’ she said, noting that the ongoing investigation began a few weeks ago.
— Arrest Tracker (@ArrestTracker) December 23, 2015