A second man has pleaded guilty to using a phishing scheme to get access to private and sensitive videos and photographs of people in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles.
Edward Majerczyk, 28, a resident of Chicago and Orland Park, Illinois, has admitted in a plea agreement entered in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California that between Nov. 23, 2013 through August 2014, he had engaged in a phishing scheme to obtain usernames and passwords from his victims, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
Majerczyk gained access to the victims’ usernames and passwords after he sent them emails that appeared to be from security accounts of internet service providers. These mails directed the victims to a website that would collect their usernames and passwords. After illegally accessing the email accounts, he obtained personal information including sensitive and private photographs and videos, according to his plea agreement.
Similar charges were also leveled a few months ago against Ryan Collins, 36, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, who signed a plea agreement in March. He sent out emails to his victims that appeared to be from Apple or Google from November 2012 until the beginning of September 2014.
The investigations are in connection with the leaks of intimate photographs of numerous female celebrities in September 2014 known as “Celebgate.”
By illegally accessing the email accounts, Collins accessed at least 50 iCloud accounts and 72 Gmail accounts, most of which belonged to female celebrities, while Majerczyk accessed at least 300 Apple iCloud and Gmail accounts, and at least 30 accounts belonging to celebrities, according to officials.
However, investigators have not uncovered any evidence linking Majerczyk or Collins to the actual leaks. There is no reference in the Department of Justice statement that suggests that they worked together.