By Dan Whitcomb
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A 21-year-old woman who prosecutors say hacked into the email accounts of pop star and actress Selena Gomez and posted photos she found there online has been charged with identity theft and fraud, Los Angeles prosecutors said on Friday.
Susan Atrach is accused of accessing Gomez’ accounts several times from June 2015 to February 2016 and obtaining images and other media stored there, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office said in a written statement.
Atrach then allegedly shared the material she took from the 25-year-old singer with others and posted them online, prosecutors say. A spokesman for the office declined to provide further details of the case.
It was not immediately clear whether Atrach, of Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, was in custody on Friday afternoon or if she had retained a criminal defense attorney.
The charges include five counts of identity theft, five counts of accessing computer data to commit fraud or illegally obtain money, property or data and one count of accessing computer data without permission.
Atrach, who was scheduled to be arraigned in Los Angeles Superior Court on Aug. 27, faces a maximum sentence of nine years in state prison if convicted at trial. Prosecutors have asked that she be held on $250,000 bail.
Representatives for Gomez could not immediately be reached for comment on the case.
The pop star, of Grand Prairie, Texas, first rose to fame starring as Alex Russo on the teen comedy Wizards of Waverly Place, which aired on the Disney Channel from 2007 to 2012.
She has since gained fame as a solo artist, landing six top 10 singles in the Billboard charts, and appeared in feature films.
Gomez has also been celebrated as the “queen of Instagram” with more than 138 million followers on the social media site as of Friday.
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; editing by Jonathan Oatis and James Dalgleish)