Another one of my fave stars, Heather Morris, has had her cell phone hacked. Will we finally see one of these hackers go to jail?
—Laurent, Canada, via the inbox
Indeed, it does look like America's favorite Britney impersonator (and Gleek. Do I need to say Gleek?) has had her cell phone compromised. And when I say compromised, I mean, yes, there were nekkid photos of her inside a phone, and now they're outside the phone. As far as the offender, here's what I can report ...
The person who did this, whoever he or she is, probably will not go to jail.
Yes, what happened to Morris appears to be a crime, and a possible federal one at that: The images taken from her phone apparently include sexy self-portraits in several poses, as well as nudes.That breach may be a violation of state law, and it also may be considered criminal under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. According to criminal defense attorney Jason Feldman, first-time offenders of such crimes can see prison stints ranging from less than a year to no more than five years, depending on the exact charges.
However, attorney Peter Toren of Weisbrod Matteis & Copley tells me, if the Morris Phone Bandit is caught, it's possible that there will be no jail time at all.
"In the cases of most such crimes—financially related offenses, intellectual property crimes, hacking crimes—most of the sentencing depends on what the financial loss to the victim is, or the gain to the defendant," Toren explains. "Heather Morris would have a hard time proving she suffered financial loss. Did the defendant sell the photos? How much financial gain resulted?"
If the hacker gained nothing or not much, then you're likely not looking at jail time ... unless the hacker has done this before.
"If the person has a past or a criminal history, that would matter," says Feldman, partner at Feldman & Wallach. "If this is a professional hacker who enters people's devices, that could affect someone's sentencing, the way they are treated by law enforcement."
Either way, don't hold your breath for a trial of the century.
"The FBI has a lot of better things to do with their time than chase down hackers who hack into cell phones to get photos of nude actresses," Toren tells this B!tch. "I am not defending that action; it's against the law. But I think if you put it in the scheme of things, of what the FBI should be concentrating on, this is not high on their list of priorities."
If it comforts you at all, know this: At least one hacker is facing serious prison time. Christopher Chaney, the man who allegedly broke into the email accounts of Mila Kunis, Scarlett Johansson and others, has been charged with a 26-count indictment of accessing emails and cell phones of more than 50 celebrities and sharing their personal information. He faces 121 years in prison. He has pleaded not guilty.