A MAN who hacked the email accounts of the actress Scarlett Johansson before sending nude photos of the star to gossip websites has been jailed for 10 years.
Christopher Chaney, of Jacksonville, Florida, accessed the personal accounts of more than 50 celebrities.
The 35-year-old admitted wiretapping and unauthorised access to a computer. He was jailed by US District Judge S James Otero yesterday. Judge Otero said: "These types of crimes are as pernicious and serious as physical stalking."
Prosecutors alleged that Chaney illegally hacked the email accounts of more than 50 people in the entertainment industry.
Chaney’s arrest by the FBI last August was part of a year-long investigation that has been dubbed "Operation Hackerazzi".
The investigation began in late 2010 as reports began to surface of celebrities' mobile phones and computers being hacked into.
Former office clerk Christopher Chaney, 36, said before the trial that he hacked into the accounts of film star Scarlett Johansson and other celebrities because he was addicted to spying on their personal lives.
Prosecutors said Chaney illegally gained access to email accounts of more than 50 people in the entertainment industry from November 2010 to October 2011.
"I don't know what else to say except I'm sorry," Chaney said during his sentencing. "This will never happen again."
Chaney was ordered to pay $66,179 in restitution to victims.
Johansson said the photos, which show her topless, were taken for her then-husband, actor Ryan Reynolds.
In a video statement shown in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, a tearful Johansson said she was "truly humiliated and embarrassed" when the photos appeared online, asking Judge S. James Otero to come down hard on Chaney.
Shortly after his arrest, Chaney told a Florida television station that his hacking of celebrity email accounts started as curiosity and later he became "addicted."
"I was almost relieved months ago when they came in and took my computer ... because I didn't know how to stop," he said.