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One of the hackers responsible for stealing nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence and dozens of other celebrities in 2014 is headed to prison.
George Garofano was one of four men who were arrested for their involvement in the mass leak that became known online as “the fappening” four years ago. Private photos of celebrities from Rihanna to Kate Upton to Vanessa Hudgens were leaked online after the group hacked into more than 200 Apple iCloud accounts.
Garofano appeared in federal court in Bridgeport, Connecticut on Wednesday and was sentenced to eight months in prison, after which he will face three years of supervised release in addition to 60 required community service hours, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Connecticut.
Garofano pleaded guilty in April to one count of unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information, having taken part in a phishing scheme that gave him and his co-conspirators illegal access to the iCloud accounts of hundreds of users, many of whom were prominent figures in the entertainment industry, according to the release.
Garofano admitted specifically to sending emails to iCloud users that appeared to be from Apple security in order to obtain usernames and passwords, which he then used to steal personal information — including sensitive photographs — from his victims, the release stated. Garofano also, on occasion, reportedly traded his victims’ usernames, passwords, and other stolen personal info with others.
Garofano was released on a $50,000 bond and will be returning to prison on Oct. 10, according to the release. The majority of Garofano’s cohorts have faced similar fates. Edward Majerczyk received a 9-month prison sentence last year and was order to pay $5,700 in restitution to an unnamed celebrity, according to CNN. Ryan Collins received an 18-month sentence a year earlier, in 2016, according to The Guardian. Emilio Herrera accepted a plea deal in October, according to Variety, and appears to have not yet been sentenced.
In a 2014 interview with Vanity Fair, Lawrence addressed the hack for the first time, describing it as a “sex crime” and calling for stricter laws.
“It is not a scandal. It is a sex crime. It is a sexual violation,” she said. “It's disgusting. The law needs to be changed, and we need to change.”
Lawrence also had a message for anyone who viewed her private images following the leak: “Anybody who looked at those pictures, you're perpetuating a sexual offense. You should cower with shame.”
She continued, “Even people who I know and love say, ‘Oh, yeah, I looked at the pictures.’ I don't want to get mad, but at the same time I'm thinking, ‘I didn't tell you that you could look at my naked body.’”
[Photo: Jennifer Lawrence attends the 90th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 4, 2018 in Hollywood, California. By Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]