With Fans Like These...
Achieving celebrity in the Internet age can be fraught with complications and, sometimes, lead to some downright creepy situations. First, there were the hackers who gained access to Hollywood socialite Paris Hilton's cell phone and voice mail messages in 2005, an exploit that led to the online posting of nude photos of the hotel heiress. Now comes news that an apparently obsessed fan of the rock band Linkin Park is accused of hacking into Verizon's computer system to obtain private information and records of the group's lead singer and his family.
According to documents posted online at FindLaw, 27-year-old Albuquerque resident Devon Townsend has admitted using her employer's computer -- a machine assigned to the Department of Energy on a U.S. Air Force base in New Mexico -- to hack into Verizon's network and obtain private records on Chester Bennington and his wife Talinda. The government also alleges that Townsend used the access to compromise the Bennington's PayPal account and to steal photographs of the couple and their children. According to court documents, the Benningtons were tipped off to the compromise when they discovered that their Verizon and PayPal account passwords had been changed to "Who is doing this to you?"
In addition, Townsend is accused of making telephone threats against the Bennington family and to selling bootlegged and pirated copies of Linkin Park recordings.
The government executed a search warrant on Townsend's residence in mid-November, where they found "posters of Linkin Park members, signed Linkin Park memorabilia, pictures of Townsend taken with Chester Bennington, bootlegged music and video DVDs, concert schedules, copies of messages from Talinda and Chester's e-mail accounts, intercepted photographs from Talinda and Chester's e-mail accounts, and other items." After being confronted with the evidence against her, Townsend confessed to the whole ordeal, according to government documents.
Findlaw has 18 pages of more delicious details from this case in a filing here.
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