US man charged with hacking celeb email accounts

2011-10-29 07:43

Los Angeles – A US man charged with hacking into the email accounts of Christina Aguilera and Scarlett Johansson may have stalked a woman for the past 12 years, according to an unsealed search warrant obtained by The Associated Press yesterday.

The warrant served on a hard drive belonging to Christopher Chaney (35) showed that the hard drive was used to conduct internet searches as recently as last November for a Connecticut woman who had complained to police that Chaney had been chatting with her online since she was 13.

The woman said in a report that Chaney caused her “serious emotional distress” by stealing several of her online accounts, and sending her friends and family “private, copyrighted embarrassing images and video”, according to the warrant. She also claimed Chaney posted her photos on porn-related forums.

Chaney has been indicted in California on 26 counts, including unauthorised computer access and wiretapping, and faces up to 121 years in prison if convicted.

He is scheduled to appear in a Los Angeles courtroom Tuesday. His attorney, Chris Chesnut, did not have an immediate comment.

Federal prosecutors said Chaney hacked into email accounts belonging to Aguilera, Johansson and Mila Kunis. Some nude photos taken by Johansson herself were posted on the internet.

The warrant also said Chaney admitted during a February interview with FBI agents to getting unauthorised access to celebrity email accounts.

Chaney said he managed to hack into Johannson’s email account to send one of her acquaintances an email containing a nude photo of her in exchange for a photo, authorities said.

He also used stylist Simone Harouche’s email account to send a message to Aguilera asking for photos, according to the search warrant.

Authorities said Chaney’s hard drive contained numerous private celebrity photos as well as a document that compiled their extensive personal data.

The warrant contends there is probable cause that Chaney violated federal stalking and unauthorised access to a computer charges.

Thom Mrozek, a spokesperson with the US attorney’s office in Los Angeles, declined comment on whether additional charges would be filed against Chaney.

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