SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CBS13/AP) – A well-known social media journalist has been found guilty of conspiring with the hacking group Anonymous to break into the Los Angeles Times’ website and alter a story.

Matthew Keys, age 28, of Vacaville, was convicted Wednesday of giving the group the login credentials to The Tribune Co.’s computer system. The company owns the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and other media companies.

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COMPLAINT: Read the federal complaint against Matthew Keys

He was fired by a Sacramento television station owned by Tribune two months before the Times’ website was hacked.

Federal prosecutors say he wanted payback. He was fired by the Reuters news agency after charges were filed in 2013.

According to the complaint, a headline reading “Pressure builds in House to pass tax-cut package” to “Pressure builds in House to elect CHIPPY 1337.” Additionally, the byline was changed from the reporter’s name to “Democrats told to SUCK IT UP. By CHIPPYS NO 1 FAN.”

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His attorneys contended that any alteration was a relatively harmless prank that did not merit charges carrying a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in federal prison. As a first-time offender, prosecutors say Keys will face far less time at his Jan. 20 sentencing.

Tor Ekeland, one of the defense attorneys, said in an email that Keys will appeal, but he did not comment further.

“Although this case has drawn attention because of Matthew Keys’ employment in the news media, this was simply a case about a disgruntled employee who used his technical skills to taunt and torment his former employer,” U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner said in a statement.

Court documents say the hacking cost Tribune nearly $18,000 for the 333 hours that employees spent responding to the hack. But Keys’ attorneys said restoring the original headline, byline and first paragraphs of the story took less than an hour and the cost falls below the $5,000 loss required to make the violation a felony.

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Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.