Alonzo Knowles, 24, a Bahamian man who goes by the alias “Jeff Moxey,” was sentenced on Tuesday for hacking into the email accounts of entertainment, media and sports professionals and stealing their digital property for profit. The US Attorney’s Officein the Southern District of New York announced the sentencing in a press release.
Knowles received a sentence of five years and was also handed a money judgment in the amount of US$1982.71, along with a $200 special assessment. He forfeits any property seized during the investigation by the Department of Homeland Security, including stolen assets, an iPad and a phone. Also, a laptop belonging to Knowles containing stolen materials was destroyed, per judicial order.
Earlier this year, Knowles apparently damaged his chances of receiving a more lenient sentence, after sending emails from jail to several women, boasting about his plans to write a book that would expose his victims’ secrets, according to a New York Times report. This correspondence was being monitored by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. At sentencing, Judge Engelmayer said that the emails demonstrated that Knowles was “devoid of any remorse” and was a threat to commit the same crime again if released anytime soon, the Times further reported.
After breaking into the personal email accounts of entertainment, sports and media professionals, Knowles stole various copyrighted and confidential documents, including movie and TV scripts, personally identifiable information (including Social Security numbers), and private photos and videos, some of which were sexually explicit in nature.
In December 2015, Knowles attempted to sell some of the stolen materials to an undercover lawenforcement agent for $80,000. He told the officer that he was able to break into the private accounts in some cases by infecting computers with a virus, and in other cases by tricking victims into giving him their passwords after sending them false email notifications claiming their accounts were hacked. Naturi Naughton, an actress on the Starz network series Power, was among the high-profile victims.
Knowles was arrested on 21 December 2015 and on 9 May 2016 pleaded guilty to charges of criminal copyright infringement and identity theft.