January 24, 2018 / 10:59 PM / 9 months ago

Arizona man gets six months in prison for hacking university email accounts

NEW YORK (Reuters) - An Arizona man was sentenced to six months in prison on Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to hacking into over 1,000 email accounts at Pace University in New York in an attempt to download sexually explicit photos and videos.

Jonathan Powell, a 30-year-old Phoenix resident, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan, according Dawn Dearden, a spokeswoman for the office of U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman. Nathan also ordered Powell to pay nearly $279,000 in restitution.

Powell’s lawyer, Deborah Colson, declined to comment on the sentence.

Powell was arrested in November 2016. Prosecutors said at the time that Powell used password reset tools to change the passwords for more than 1,000 accounts at two universities, in New York and Pennsylvania. They said he tried to do the same at 75 other institutions.

Powell was seeking to download sexually explicit photographs and videos of women, prosecutors said.

Powell pleaded guilty in August 2017 to accessing a protected computer without authorization. In his guilty plea, Powell did not mention any universities other than Pace, according to a court transcript of his plea hearing.

Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York

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