WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Graham Ivan Clark, the 17-year old accused as the mastermind of the Twitter-hacking scheme in July pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of fraud Tuesday.
- Aside from Clark, two other men were also charged in the case ━ Nima Fazeli, 22, of Orlando and Mason Sheppard, 19, of the UK ━ for brokering the stolen Bitcoin.
- Clark’s case is being investigated by the FBI and the US Department of Justice but Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren said that they will take care of Clark’s prosecution.
On Tuesday, Graham Ivan Clark, the accused mastermind of the Bitcoin hacking scheme of top-level Twitter accounts of politicians, celebrities, and tech tycoons, pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of fraud. The hearing was conducted through the Zoom video conferencing service.
The 17-year-old from Florida is accused of using the accounts to deceive netizens of soliciting Bitcoin that amounts to more than $100,000.
Clark is facing 17 counts of communications fraud, 11 counts of fraudulent use of personal information, and one count each of organized fraud of more than $5,000 and accessing computers or electronic devices without authority.
Aside from Clark, two other individuals were charged. Nima Fazeli, 22, of Orlando and Mason Sheppard, 19, of Bognor Regis, UK, were separately arraigned in California federal court last week.
On July 15, dummy tweets were shared from the official accounts of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk. Other hacked accounts include Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.
The tweets pledged to double the amount for every $1,000 sent to an anonymous Bitcoin address.
According to court papers, Fazeli and Sheppard mediated the stolen money which was led by a hacker who named himself as “Kirk.” Claiming to be a Twitter employee, Kirk said he could “reset, swap and control any Twitter account at-will” in exchange for cyber currency payments.
The papers do not provide Kirk’s real identity aside from saying that he was a teenager that is prosecuted in Tampa.
According to Twitter, the hacker was able to access the company’s dashboard that handles the accounts through social engineering and spear-phishing smartphones. The intruder had successfully obtained credentials managed by “a small number” of Twitter employees who had access on internal systems.
Clark’s case is under the investigation of the FBI and the US Department of Justice although Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren said that his office is prosecuting Clark since Florida law permits minors to be charged as adults in pertinent cases like financial fraud.
Clark was arrested on Friday in Tampa and is currently under the custody of Hillsborough County Jail with bail set at $725,000 based on court records. He is scheduled for a bond hearing on Wednesday.
Clark is being represented by David Weisboard. He has not yet responded to a request for comment about his client’s case.
Source: New York Post