SACRAMENTO -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced today that George Samuel Bronk, 23, of Citrus Heights, was sentenced on Friday to more than four years in state prison for stalking women on the social networking site Facebook.
Bronk plead guilty in Sacramento Superior Court to seven felonies, including computer intrusion, false impersonation and possession of child pornography. Bronk received four years, eight months in state prison and will have to register as a sex offender.
"For all of the conveniences the Internet offers, it has also opened a new frontier for crime. Cyber-predators, like Mr. Bronk, must be held accountable for their criminal activities,' Attorney General Harris said. 'Let this be an example for all those who will stoop to steal other people's identities.'
From December 2009 through September 2010, Bronk accessed e-mail accounts and Facebook pages of people in 17 states, as well as residents of England. He essentially found answers to the women’s e-mail security questions in information they had posted on their Facebook sites.
Bronk searched the victim’s “sent mail” folder for nude or semi-nude photographs and videos, which he often sent to the victim’s entire e-mail address book. He also gained access to some victims’ Facebook accounts by clicking the “Forgot Your Password?” link and asking for a new password to be sent to the victim's e-mail account, which he now controlled. In many cases, he posted the photographs to victims’ Facebook pages and to other Internet sites and made comments on the Facebook sites of friends.
Superior Court Judge Lawrence Brown rejected a defense request for probation and sentenced Bronk to state prison. Judge Brown sentenced Bronk to four years in state prison for the crimes of computer intrusion and false impersonation and then added an additional consecutive term of eight months for Bronk's possession of child pornography.
The investigation began after one victim contacted the Connecticut State Police, and the agency then contacted the California Highway Patrol because the suspect appeared to be operating here. The CHP requested the Attorney General's assistance.
On the hard drive of Bronk’s desktop computer, which was confiscated from his Citrus Heights home during a search in September, investigators found more than 170 files containing explicit photographs of women, including a film actress, whose e-mail accounts he had commandeered. Finding victims, however, proved a challenge. CHP and Attorney General agents were able to use location tagging information embedded on the photographs on Bronk’s hard drive to assist in identifying victims, and e-mailed 3,200 questionnaires to potential victims asking them to come forward.
Some 46 victims did, including one who described Bronk’s actions as “virtual rape.”