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Coloradan Apologizes After 1.9 Million Photobucket Accounts Hacked

By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4) - A 29 month prison sentence was handed down on Tuesday to a Colorado man who pleaded guilty to charges involving a massive photo hacking scheme.

Brandon Bourret, of Colorado Springs, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit computer fraud.

Brandon Bourret
Brandon Bourret (credit: CBS)

The FBI tracked Bourret and a colleague down after a total of 1.9 million Photobucket accounts were found to be hacked.

"All I hear is 'Brandon, wake up! The FBI is here.' They broke in the doors," Bourret told CBS4's Rick Sallinger outside the courthouse on Tuesday.

For $20, Bourret had been providing a computer program to access Photobucket accounts designated on as private.

(credit: CBS)

Bourret told CBS4 he didn't realize what he was doing was illegal.

"I would have had the plug pulled faster than you can get a pizza delivered to your house," he said.

But in court, prosecutors said many of the pictures were pornographic and available for extortion. Some were sent to family and co-workers.

Bourret expressed regrets about the crime.

"It has to be horrendous, it has to be terrible. I apologize to each and every one of them for what I helped facilitate with that software," he said.

His co-defendant, Athanasios Andrianakis, got probation after agreeing to work with Photobucket to improve its security. But, Bourret insists there were positive uses for his hacking software.

"You know, (for parents and) their teenage kids -- 'What are you doing with that new camera Jenny? Oh, you are putting up nude pictures? We're going to put a stop to that,'" said Bourret.

Brandon Bourret
Brandon Bourret (credit: CBS)

Prosecutors asked for prison time, saying Bourret "messed with people's lives."

Bourret made about $50,000 selling access to the private pictures on the site.

His warning to people on Tuesday was "the internet is not a safe place to be."

CBS4's Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

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