Adrian Kwiatkowski, 23, was sentenced to 18 months in UK prison on Friday, according to Leicestershire Live. The sentence was handed down around two months after the Ipswich man admitted to unlawfully accessing the celebrities' cloud-based accounts and selling their content for bitcoin.
Authorities in London claim the individual made roughly $147,000 from the operation, which also targeted Ed Sheeran and Post Malone.
“Kwiatkowski had complete disregard for the musicians’ creativity and hard work producing original songs and the subsequent loss of earnings,’’ said Joanne Jakymec of the Crown Prosecution Service, as reported by the Associated Press. “He selfishly stole their music to make money for himself.”
In 2019, the Manhattan District Attorney's Department initiated an inquiry after a number of music management businesses reported that a hacker known as "Spirdark" stole their customers' content and was selling it on the dark web.
Kwiatkowski was tracked down by NYC detectives working with the London Police Department using his crypto account and an IP address. According to police, they investigated the hacker's Mac computer and discovered more than 500 music files, including songs by the aforementioned artists.
Kwiatkowski was caught in September 2019 by the London Police Department's Intellectual Property Crime Unit. He was eventually charged with 19 criminal counts, and convicted and sentenced to three counts of unauthorized computer access, 14 counts of selling copyrighted material, two counts of possession of the criminal property, and a single count of converting criminal property.
“Cybercrime knows no borders, and this individual executed a complex scheme to steal unreleased music in order to line his own pockets,’’ Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L Bragg Jr said. “New York and London are cultural capitals of the world, and through our enduring partnership with the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit and law enforcement organizations around the world, we have sent a clear message that we have the ability and tools to stop this type of criminal activity and protect victims.”