New York Man Sentenced to 3 Years for Hacking, Stealing Nude Photos From College Students

A New York man has been sentenced to three years in prison after admitting to stealing dozens of nude photos from college students.

U.S. District Judge Mae A. D'Agostino sentenced 25-year-old Nicholas Faber, of Rochester, to 36 months behind bars on Thursday, according to the Department of Justice. Faber was also sentenced to three years of supervised release upon the completion of his prison sentence and ordered to pay over $35,000 in restitution to the State University of New York (SUNY) at Plattsburgh. He pleaded guilty to charges of computer fraud and aggravated identity theft on February 8.

Between 2017 and 2019, Faber and co-conspirator Michael Fish illegally accessed the email accounts of dozens of women who were students at SUNY Plattsburgh. The duo used information from the email accounts to gain access to the social media accounts of the women, going on to steal nude photos and videos that they later traded online. In online conversations with each other, Faber and Fish described obtaining the stolen images as "wins," said The Press-Republican.

The email accounts were accessed after Faber and Fish correctly guessed the answers to password reset questions. They attempted to cover their tracks by using a virtual private network but were quickly tracked down during an investigation that was initiated after one of the victims noticed suspicious activity on her accounts. SUNY Plattsburgh spent over $35,000 to investigate and fix security issues after the criminal scheme was uncovered.

Nicholas Faber Sentenced Stealing Nudes Cybercrime College
Nicholas Faber was sentenced to 36 months in prison on Thursday after admitting to stealing nude photos and videos from female college students at SUNY Plattsburgh between 2017 and 2019. This undated file photo shows a person using a laptop computer in a darkened room. Chainarong Prasertthai/Getty

Faber and Fish are both graduates of SUNY Plattsburgh and knew some of their victims personally. The university contacted the women to let them know that their accounts may have been compromised. Graduate Katie Lein, who knew Fish but not Faber, told SUNY Plattsburgh student paper Cardinal Points that she was shocked to learn of the security breach even though she had not placed much trust in Fish, who she described as a "stereotypical frat boy."

"I never thought he could betray my trust that much. I knew, maybe, he wouldn't be there to pick me up if I called," Lein told the paper. "I knew, maybe, he wouldn't have my back if someone was being creepy toward me at a bar. I knew I couldn't trust him that way, but I would have never thought he would steal my personal information, sell it, violate me and treat me literally as a commodity."

Fish is scheduled to be sentenced on November 3. In May 2020, he pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft, computer hacking and child pornography—charges that carry a maximum combined prison sentence of up to 32 years. In January, Fish was additionally charged with falsifying documents by sending Judge D'Agostino a doctored letter vouching for his good character, purportedly written by an aide to New York Representative Elise Stefanik.

Faber could have faced a maximum sentence of up to 12 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. His attorney James Wolford had requested a minimum sentence of two years, arguing that Faber "has excellent qualities and characteristics" in court documents.

Newsweek reached out to Wolford for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.