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A Bahamian Man Arrested in US for Hacking Emails of Celebrities

Bloomberg.com published a report on 23rd December, 2015, quoting a statement of federal prosecutors of New York that Alonzo Knowles, a Bahamian aged 23 years of Freeport, was arrested in Manhattan on Monday with charges of theft, when he tried to sell an undercover officer around 15 movies and television scripts for US$ 80,000.

Knowles hacked email accounts to steal future television shows and movies scripts, as well as explicit videos of sports personalities, celebrities and people belonging to media industries.

Authorities claimed that they started investigation only when representatives of an unknown satellite and cable television network contacted them this month, and told them that a well-known radio host received an unsolicited offer from a person who offered to sell future episode scripts of a TV series.

An undercover officer was introduced to Knowles by the radio host. Knowles offered to sell sexually explicit photos and videos, which was sent to a radio host by a television host and columnist. Besides, as per the prosecutors, Knowles further offered to sell the Social Security number of a "very popular A-list celebrity" and 30 yet to be released tracks from the unreleased album of the person.

As per a video chat of an undercover officer, Knowles had an "exclusive content" that is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. He further revealed that Knowles showed him a list of phone numbers and e-mail addresses of minimum 130 people.

Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney, said: "This case has all of the aspects of the sort of blockbuster script the defendant, Alonzo Knowles, is purported to have stolen: hacks into celebrities' private e-mails, identity theft and try to sell victims' data to the highest bidder."

During the hearing at the court, Kristy Greenberg, assistant US Attorney, fought against granting bail to Knowles for his release, arguing that he is a flight risk and a danger to the community.

Knowles is charged with the offence of criminal violation of copyright and identity theft, and each of these crimes invites a maximum punishment for five years in jail.

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