Mila Kunis, Christina Aguilera, Scarlett Johansson email hacker pleads guilty in nude photo case
Chaney, an unemployed Jacksonville, Fla., man, faces up to 60 years in prison.
Chaney, 35, entered his plea in federal court to nine counts, including unauthorized access to a computer and wiretapping. He was immediately taken into custody with his head hung low and his hands in his pocket.
Chaney was arrested in October as part of a yearlong investigation of celebrity hacking that authorities dubbed "Operation Hackerazzi."
Prosecutors said Chaney illegally accessed the email accounts of more than 50 people in the entertainment industry between November 2010 and October 2011.
Nude photos Johansson had taken of herself were later posted on the Internet. Johansson told Vanity Fair for its December issue that the photos were meant for Ryan Reynolds, now her ex-husband.
Chaney mined through publicly available data to figure out password and security questions for celebrity accounts. Once he had control of their email account, he also went through their contact lists to find email accounts of fellow stars.
He also hijacked a forwarding feature so a copy of every email a celebrity received was sent to an account he controlled, according to court documents.
A search warrant unsealed and obtained by The Associated Press said Chaney's computer hard drive contained numerous private celebrity photos and a document that compiled their extensive personal data.
In one instance, Chaney posed as stylist Simone Harouche and sent an email from her account to Aguilera - one of Harouche's clients - asking the singer for scantily clad photographs, prosecutors said. Some of Aguilera's photos appeared online.
Chaney forwarded many of the photographs to two gossip websites and another hacker, but there wasn't any evidence that he profited from his scheme, authorities said. He has since apologized for his actions.
In ordering Chaney to be behind bars until he's sentenced, U.S. District Judge S. James Otero noted the defendant continued to hack into celebrity email accounts - namely one belonging to a star only referenced by initials C.B. - after he was interviewed by FBI agents and confessed to his scheme.
As part of the plea agreement, Chaney could pay a fine of up to $2.2 million. He must pay restitution to his victims, ranging from $15,000 to $400,000.
Sentencing was scheduled for July 23.
- Report: Dogs removed from kidnap suspect Castro's home
- Cops: Hosftra student was killed by officer's gunshot
- Arias returns to court for penalty phase of trial
- 10-year-old killed after gunmen shoot into Calif. home
- Meeting Jodi Arias: First impressions never lie, or do they?
- Police: Ex-cop once hailed as hero charged with rape
- 17-year-old charged with murdering two Ohio brothers
- Creighton Univ. professor, wife, found slain in Omaha home
- Ariel Castro's lawyer says he'll plead not guilty
- 'Kai the hatchet-wielding hitchhiker' arrested
- Cops: DNA confirms remains those of Ga. college freshman
- Texas woman's body found 2 days after 911 call
- "The War in Chicago": A 48 Hours investigation
- Cops: Hofstra student died in police-involved shooting
- Jodi Arias jury finds killing merits possible death penalty
- Authorities search for missing URI student