A Florida teen accused of masterminding the Twitter hack in 2020 that targeted high-profile personalities has pleaded guilty. Graham Ivan Clark, along with his co-conspirators, allegedly solicited $117,000 worth of BTC from unsuspecting Twitter users in the first three hours of the hack, authorities said.
The Tampa resident allegedly worked with two other people to take over the Twitter accounts of Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Joe Biden, Kanye West, Uber, Apple, and Bill Gates, among others. Authorities said the suspects used the accounts to conduct a massive campaign urging users to send BTC to their address and they would purportedly double it.
The law caught up with them quickly. Clark, who was 17 at the time, first pleaded not guilty to the charges, as CoinGeek reported. However, according to local outlet Tampa Bay Times, he has now pleaded guilty. As part of the deal with prosecutors, he will serve a three-year prison sentence, followed by three years’ probation.
As part of the deal, the prosecutors agreed to sentence the 18-year-old as a youthful offender. This enabled him to avoid the minimum 10-year sentence he would have faced if he had been sentenced as an adult. However, if he violates the terms of his probation, he could still face the 10-year minimum sentence. As the outlet revealed, he will serve his sentence in a state prison designed for young adults.
While recognizing that Clark was a young teenager at the time he committed the crime, Andrew Warren, the Hillsborough State Attorney, believes it was important for him to be held accountable for his crime. This will serve as an example to other potential scammers, he said in his statement.
“In this case, we’ve been able to deliver those consequences while recognizing that our goal with any child, whenever possible, is to have them learn their lesson without destroying their future,” he added.
The deal with the prosecutors also dictates that Clark will not use computers without supervision. He will also have to surrender all passwords to his online accounts. As his lawyers revealed, he also had to turn over all the BTC he earned from his scam.
The other two coconspirators, Nima Fazeli and Mason Sheppard, still face federal charges.
Follow CoinGeek’s Crypto Crime Cartel series, which delves into the stream of groups-from BitMEX to Binance, Bitcoin.com, Blockstream, ShapeShift, Coinbase, Ripple and Ethereum—who have co-opted the digital asset revolution and turned the industry into a minefield for naïve (and even experienced) players in the market.
New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.