Susan Atrach, a 21-year-old student from Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, has been charged on suspicion of gaining unwanted access to Selena Gomez’s email.
Atrach has been charged with 11 felonies in the case, and could face over nine years in prison. She is suspected of accessing the singer’s iCloud and Yahoo accounts multiple times between June 2015 and February 2016, as well as sharing her private media online, prosecutors say.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office stated that Atrach’s felonies include five counts of identity theft, five counts of accessing and using computer data to commit fraud or to control/obtain money, property, or data, and one count of using data/taking supporting documentation without permission. If she is found guilty on all of the charges, she could be sentenced to nine years and eight months in prison.
According to certain sources in the investigation, Atrach reset the star’s passwords by answering security questions based on information she found online from multiple sources. They also say that Atrach did not make any money out of gaining access to the accounts.
Atrach has not entered a plea, and is expected to surrender. She is scheduled to be arraigned in court by August 27th in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Centre. Prosecutors recommended her bail be set as $250,000 (£190,000).
“She is going to surrender here in LA,” a representative for LAPD told the New York Post.
Prior to this incident, the star was also a victim of another hacking last year when someone posted naked photos of her ex-boyfriend Justin Bieber to her Instagram page. The photos posted were taken by the paparazzi when the singer was on holiday in Bora Bora in 2015. The photos were promptly taken down and her Instagram was temporarily deactivated until it was back up again shortly afterwards, with the inappropriate images of Justin Bieber taken down.
Kristen Stubbs, digital marketing director at Interscope Records, tweeted that the star’s record label was behind the temporary takedown of her Instagram after the hacking of Bieber’s naked pics.
While the problem was quickly solved, it was never discovered who got access to her account in the first place, so no charges were ever made.
In this case, neither Selena Gomez nor her record label have commented on the incident, but hopefully the singer will be free of anymore hacking her in future. In this day and age, we all have to be extra careful with our personal information, especially if you’re famous, you know?
Story by Emily Clark
Featured Photo Credit: NickiSwift