Authorities have arrested a Tampa teenage who is accused of carrying out a massive Twitter hack.
Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren announced 17-year-old Graham Clark was taken into custody Friday, about two weeks after he allegedly breached high-profile accounts in an apparent bitcoin scam. According to WWSB, Clark has been charged with 30 felony counts, including organized fraud over $50,000, fraudulent use of personal information, and access to computer or electronic device without authority.
“These crimes were perpetrated using the names of famous people and celebrities, but they’re not the primary victims here,” Warren said in a press release. “This ‘Bit-Con’ was designed to steal money from regular Americans from all over the country, including here in Florida. This massive fraud was orchestrated right here in our backyard, and we will not stand for that.”
The historic hack took place on July 15, when prominent Twitter accounts began releasing tweets instructing followers to send funds to specific bitcoin accounts; the posts claimed those who contributed would receive double the amount in return. Authorities say Clark never fulfilled his promise, and ended up racking in more than $100,000 in bitcoin in a single day.
The accounts that were targeted belonged to celebrities as well as prominent political and business figures. Kanye West, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mike Bloomberg, and former vice president Joe Biden were just some of the names who were affected.
Following Clark’s arrest, Twitter released a statement thanking authorities for conducting a thorough investigation and arresting the suspect.
Warren said the teen will be prosecuted in Florida, as the state laws provide more flexibility in trying minors as adults in financial fraud cases.
“This defendant lives here in Tampa, he committed the crime here, and he’ll be prosecuted here,” Warren said. “Working together, we will hold this defendant accountable. Scamming people out of their hard-earned money is always wrong. Whether you’re taking advantage of someone in person or on the internet, trying to steal their cash or their cryptocurrency—it’s fraud, it’s illegal, and you won’t get away with it.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of California also announced that two other individuals, Nima Fazeli, 22 and Mason Sheppard, 19, were charged in the hack. Sheppard, who’s from the United Kingdom, was charged “with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and the intentional access of a protected computer.” Fazeli, who is from Orlando, Florida, was charged with “with aiding and abetting the intentional access of a protected computer.”
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