Industry News

Cybercriminal gets 5 years in prison for hacking celebrities

24-year-old Alonzo Knowles from Bahamas, also known as Jeff Moxey, was sentenced to five years in a US prison, following his confession and guilty plea to criminal copyright infringement and identity theft in May, announced the US Department of Justice, Southern District of New York.

After hacking the email accounts of some 130 entertainment, sports and media celebrities, Knowles stole unreleased TV and movie scripts, documents, Social Security Numbers and explicit content with intent to sell them, according to prosecutors.

“Alonzo Knowles hacked into the private emails of entertainment and sports celebrities, stole personal information and property, including unreleased movie and television scripts, and attempted to sell them to the highest bidder,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said. “For his frightful violation of privacy, Knowles has been sentenced to substantial term of imprisonment.”

The man tried to sell an undercover agent content that was “exclusive,” “really profitable,” and worth “hundreds of thousands of dollars.” Knowles described two of his methods to the agent. The first was to send a virus to the computer that would grant him access, while the second involved a false hacking notification that asked for the passcodes so he could alter the settings.

According to investigators, Knowles’ laptop has been destroyed, although he was willing to serve extra prison time to keep it and sell the stolen information after prison. In addition to the five-year sentence, Knowles was ordered to pay $1,982.71 and a $200 special assessment.

About the author


From a young age, Luana knew she wanted to become a writer. After having addressed topics such as NFC, startups, and tech innovation, she has now shifted focus to internet security, with a keen interest in smart homes and IoT threats. Luana is a supporter of women in tech and has a passion for entrepreneurship, technology, and startup culture.