Celebrity Photo Hacker Sentenced to 8 Months

By Lisa M. Schaffer, Esq. on August 31, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

George Garofano was sentenced to eight months in a federal prison in Bridgeport, CT for his role in hacking the personal iCloud of over 200 users, many of whom were celebrities. Dubbed "The Fappening," the 2014 iCloud hack led to the online publication of nude photos of such actresses as Jennifer Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst, Gabrielle Union, and Kate Upton.

Garofano was the last of the four hackers in this crime spree to be sentenced, and did receive the most jail time. None of them were charged with distributing the pictures, only with hacking the iCloud. Therefore, all of the sentences were merely a matter of months, and all fines were less than $10,000, combined.

"It is Not a Scandal. It is a Sex Crime"

Jennifer Lawrence was the most vocal victim of this hacking. In a 2014 Vanity Fair article, she voiced her outrage over the lenient crime these hackers were charged with, compared to the pain she endured. In her words, "It is not a scandal. It is a sex crime." Though she does have a point, she did take the pictures, she did upload them to the cloud, and the defendants didn't publish them. Had they published them, the prison sentence would have been more along the lines of ten years. Perhaps her anger should be directed at Apple, who admitted that their iCloud security was rather lax.

Other Famous Photo Hacking Crimes

In 2013, Christopher Chaney was sentenced to ten years in federal prison for hacking and posting nude photos of numerous celebrities, including Mila Kunis, Scarlet Johansson, Jessica Alba, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, and Miley Cyrus. Other hacked accounts include Tiger Woods, Kristen Stewart, and many, many other celebrities. Though leaked photos and videos have launched some careers, such as Kim Kardashian's, the case does beg the question of whether the punishment fits the crime.

If you or someone you love has been the victim of hacked and leaked photos, contact the local police as well as a personal injury lawyer to see if you have a potential claim against the hacker and publisher.

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