A Chicago man has been charged with hacking into more 300 email and iCloud accounts, including at least 30 accounts belonging to Hollywood celebrities.
Edward Majerczyk, a 28-year-old who lives in Chicago and Orland Park, has agreed to plead guilty to one felony count of unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information, according to a statement from the Department of Justice.
Between November 2013 and August 2014, Majerczyk used a phishing scheme, posing as security accounts to trick people into giving their usernames and passwords, federal prosecutors said. He used the information to access their Apple iCloud and Gmail accounts, obtain sensitive photos and videos, prosecutors said.
The charges against Majerczyk stem from the “Celebgate” investigation that started in September 2014, when numerous celebrities’ accounts were hacked, though authorities have not linked him specifically to any celebrity leak from that time, prosecutors said.
His case has been moved from California to Illinois’ Northern District, in Chicago, here he will enter his guilty plea. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.
“Hacking of online accounts to steal personal information is not merely an intrusion of an individual’s privacy but is a serious violation of federal law,” United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker said.