In 2014, hundreds of nude photos of celebrities including Kate Upton and Jennifer Lawrence were released on the internet. Law enforcement officials assured the public that they would track down and catch the person responsible for the leak of these private photos and they are now charging Ryan Collins in relation to the hack. Here’s what you should know about the case from the legal standpoint of a Vista federal criminal defense attorney.
Collins used a phishing scheme to get user names and passwords from his victims, which he then used to access their private accounts. This has resulted in his being charged with the federal crime of unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information. Information he illegally accessed is valued at over $5,000, so he could also charged with grand theft.
Interestingly, Collins has not yet been connected with the spread of the photos online and the US Attorney’s office has said there is no evidence that he ever shared the information he obtained. Because the hacker seems to have held on to the information he stole, he has struck up a successful plea deal between the prosecution and his defense lawyer just like a good federal criminal defense attorney in Vista would likely do.
According to the plea bargain, which is something a Vista criminal lawyer could make with local prosecutors, he will only be charged with unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information and while he could serve up to five years in prison, the agreement ensures the prosecution will only seek a term of 18 months. Collins could also be ordered to pay restitution to the victims, in addition to up to $250,000 in fines -though these fines could be much higher if he was facing the full gamut of charges he is subject to.
Remember that even if you intend to plead guilty, you should always have a Vista defense lawyer at your side to ensure you get the best possible deal. If you have been charged with a crime or believe you may be accused of one, please call (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Creative Commons Image by The Preiser Project