An Illinois man pled guilty yesterday to felony computer hacking related to a phishing scheme that gave him illegal access to over 300 Apple iCloud and Gmail accounts, including those belonging to members of the entertainment industry in Los Angeles.
Edward Majerczyk, 28, who resides in Chicago and Orland Park, Illinois, was charged on July 1 in a criminal information filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles. Pursuant to a plea agreement, Majerczyk pled guilty yesterday in United States District Court in Chicago to a felony violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, specifically, one count of unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information.
The court set Majerczyk’s sentencing hearing for January 10, 2017. At the time of sentencing, Majerczyk will face a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.
According to the factual basis in the plea agreement, from November 23, 2013 through August 2014, Majerczyk engaged in a phishing scheme to obtain usernames and passwords for his victims. He sent e-mails to victims that appeared to be from security accounts of internet service providers that directed the victims to a website that would collect the victims’ usernames and passwords. After victims responded by entering information at that website, Majerczyk had access to victims’ usernames and passwords. After illegally accessing the iCloud and Gmail accounts, Majerczyk obtained personal information including sensitive and private photographs and videos, according to his plea agreement.
The charge against Majerczyk stems from the investigation into the leaks of photographs of numerous female celebrities in September 2014 known as “Celebgate.” However, investigators have not uncovered any evidence linking Majerczyk to the actual leaks. Many of Majerczyk’s victims were members of the entertainment industry in Los Angeles. Majerczyk accessed at least 300 accounts, and at least 30 accounts belonging to celebrities.