Federal authorities last week arrested the Tennessee man who boasted of hacking Miley Cyrus’ email account and posting pictures on the Internet of the then-underage starlet in her underwear.
FBI agents arrested Joshua Holly, 21, last Thursday at approximately 3 p.m. and charged him with possessing about 200 unauthorized credit card numbers with intent to defraud. Because of the holiday weekend, Holly had to wait until Monday afternoon for his initial appearance in federal district court in Nashville before U.S. Magistrate Judge Juliet E. Griffin.
At that hearing, Griffin released Holly prior to his trial under conditions that stipulate he has no access to computers or other Internet devices. Holly’s grandmother, Paulette Hecklinger of Ember Lake Drive in Nashville, will serve as a third-party custodian to Holly, which means she will be responsible for notifying authorities if Holly violates his release conditions. A pre-trial hearing is set for Wednesday, Jan. 12.
Though Holly has not been charged with crimes linked to the leak of Cyrus’ photos, the criminal complaint filed against him states that more charges are likely.
The arrest comes two-and-a-half years after the FBI first opened an investigation into Holly in July 2008, after the release of several pictures of Cyrus in her underwear and bathing suit.
According to court filings, Holly — who used various online aliases including “TrainReq” — boasted on the website digitalgangster.com that he was the hacker who gained access to Cyrus’ MySpace account and later her Gmail account, where the leaked photos were obtained.
Federal agents later connected that alias to a MySpace account registered to Holly in Murfreesboro. It was there on Oct. 20, 2008, that FBI agents seized computers, an iPhone and several digital storage devices from the apartment where Holly lived.
According to authorities, Holly admitted to hacking Cyrus’ personal information in an interview with an FBI agent during that search of the apartment. Holly also allegedly told agents he earned a significant amount of money — about $110,000 — by “spamming” for companies, or sending out unsolicited advertisements over the Internet.
Holly was also the subject of the “I support Josh Holly cause he hacked Miley Cyrus [sic] email” Facebook page.