Former ARRI exec pleads guilty to hacking into rival CEO's e-mail account, faces jail time

There's some Oscar-worthy drama brewing in California, where ARRI executive Michael Bravin has pleaded guilty to hacking into a high-level e-mail account at rival camera maker Band Pro Film and Digital. In a plea agreement filed yesterday with a US District Court, Bravin admitted to intentionally accessing a corporate e-mail account belonging to Amnon Band -- Band Pro's President and CEO. More details after the break, including a potential connection to RED's Jim Jannard.

Bravin obtained Band's user name and password during his 16-year tenure at the company, which he left in December 2009 before joining ARRI as VP of Market Development in 2010 (according to his LinkedIn profile, he left ARRI in January 2011 to found a production consultation company). After leaving Band Pro, the exec continued to illegally access Band's account and read his e-mails until June 2010, costing the company at least $5,000. Bravin is now required to pay back that sum along with any legal fees, with both prosecution and defense attorneys putting total restitution at an estimated $20,000. The crime also allows for a maximum sentence of one year in federal prison, though both parties agree that a two-month sentence would be suitable under the circumstances.

But this saga may be far from over. Yesterday evening, RED founder Jim Jannard announced on a user forum that his personal e-mail account was also compromised, though details behind the operation remain unclear. "My attorney informed me that my personal emails were apparently hacked," Jannard wrote in a thread pertaining to Bravin's guilty plea. "Unfortunately, this will get messy. Not what anyone would vote for. Certainly not me." Jannard didn't specify whether he's planning to take legal action against Bravin, writing only that the breach of his account "is connected to [the Band Pro] case," and that he's "exceedingly sad over this situation."

You can find Bravin's full plea agreement at the PDF link below.

[Thanks, John]