TRENTON – A Monmouth County man was sentenced to five years in prison on April 18 for stealing sexually explicit photos of women and posting them on public sites, announced Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal.
Patrick S. Farrell, 37, of Millstone Township, plead guilty to charges of second-degree computer theft on December 7, 2018 for hacking into private cloud-based storage accounts of two women and stealing their sexually explicit photos.
An investigation found that between October 2015 and April 2016, Farrell hacked into the cloud-based accounts of two women and stole a sexually explicit video of the victim as well as one or more nude photos of the victim.
“In one case, he posted the stolen video on a video-sharing website and posted four nude photos of the victim on another multimedia sharing website. In the other case, he posted the sexually explicit video and a nude photo on the victim’s own social media account,” stated a release from the Attorney General’s office.
Neither of the women knew Farrell nor did they consent to having their photos taken or accounts accessed.
Farrell admitted to investigators that he breached over one thousand private email accounts during a four-year period, stealing private photos and other personal information, during his sentencing.
“Farrell violated the privacy of his two victims in a devastating way, leaving them fearful and insecure because their most intimate moments were exposed to family members, friends and total strangers,” said Attorney General Grewal.“Beyond the incalculable emotional harm he inflicted, Farrell’s breaches left the information in the victims’ online accounts vulnerable to exploitation by other cybercriminals. This prison sentence sends a deterrent message that we will aggressively prosecute this type of crime.”
Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice reminds everyone to be vigilant on social media, “and to carefully secure their online accounts, because there are many types of cybercriminal, ranging from sexual predators to tech-savvy thieves.” The investigation was conducted with help from the New Jersey State Police Troop C Criminal Investigations Office, Cyber Crimes Unit, and Digital Technology Investigations Unit, and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, New Brunswick Police Department, and Montclair State University Police Department.