Man pleads guilty in celebrity hacking case

Posted at 1:57 PM, May 24, 2016

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty Tuesday to hacking into the email and online accounts of several female celebrities and stealing private information, including nude photos and videos.

Ryan Collins, 36, was accused of gaining access to more than 100 Google and Apple accounts from November 2012 to September 2014. Many of those accounts belonged to famous women.

He pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of gaining unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information.

Federal prosecutors said Collins used a scheme called phishing in which he was able to get victims to provide information about their accounts in response to emails that appeared to come directly from Apple and Google. In some instances, they said, he was able to obtain all the files his victims had stored online, including nude photos and videos.

No celebrities were identified in a plea agreement filed in March. Prosecutors say there was no evidence that Collins posted any of the pilfered images online or shared any information he obtained.

Collins, of Lancaster, was charged as part of an investigation into the posting of nude photos of numerous celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton, but prosecutors said he was not suspected of being involved in releasing those images.

No date was set for sentencing. Collins' attorney didn't immediately return a call seeking comment Tuesday.