Andrew Helton, the man responsible for hacking hundreds of email accounts and stealing nude photos from unspecified celebrities, was sentenced to six months in federal prison on Thursday, according to the Associated Press.
Helton, 29, plead guilty in February to stealing 161 nude photos from 13 people, including celebrities, however, authorities said they do not believe Helton leaked any of the images he stole. Nude images of Lawrence, Upton and many other female stars that were widely circulated online August 2014 are believed to have been leaked from another source since Helton was arrested in 2013 (Ryan Collins, 36, pled guilty in March to charges in connection with what the internet dubbed “The Fappening”).
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie S. Christensen urged the judge to sentence Helton to a minimum of one year in prison, explaining in her filings that “[Helton] targeted strangers, acquaintances, and celebrities alike. He trolled through their private e-mail accounts, accessing the most private of communications. He systematically pilfered nude and intimate images of his victims and stored them in his own computer for personal use.”
The AP reported that Helton’s lawyer argued his client should not receive prison time because the phishing technique he used was rudimentary. This was something Helton also noted in his letter to the judge, and he cited mental illness for his actions, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“There was no expertise involved. All I did was essentially copy and paste,” he wrote, adding that he didn’t target anyone specifically but found contact lists online.
“Those who read about my case probably imagine me in a room hatching fiendish plots to take advantage of people,” Helton wrote. “The truth is, when this was going on, it was usually filled with tears and suffering.”