17-year-old Florida resident charged in connection with Twitter hack and bitcoin giveaway scam


UPDATE: 3:30 PM EST — According to the U.S. Department of Justice, two other individuals — 19-year-old U.K. resident Mason Sheppard and 22-year-old Florida resident Nima Fazeli — have also been charged for their alleged participation in the hacks.

Sheppard has been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and the intentional access of a protected computer. Fazeli has been charged with aiding and abetting the intentional access of a protected computer. Both were charged via a complaint filed in the Northern District of California, according to the DOJ's statement.

Among the listed participants in the investigation was blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis.

The state attorney of Hillsborough County, Florida, announced Friday that it filed 30 felony charges against 17-year-year old Graham Clark for his alleged role in this month's Twitter account hack wave.

As The Block reported earlier this month, the accounts of a range of major political and technology figures — as well as crypto exchanges and industry businesses — were hacked and used to distribute messages directing users to a bitcoin giveaway scam. Twitter eventually regained control of those accounts and has since published information about the incident, including a Thursday release pointing to a "phone spear-phishing attack" directed at a subset of employees. 

According to State Attorney Andrew Warren's office, "[t]he Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Justice conducted a complex nationwide investigation, locating and apprehending the suspect in Hillsborough County." The Tampa Bay Times reported that Clark was arrested in Tampa Friday morning.

"These crimes were perpetrated using the names of famous people and celebrities, but they're not the primary victims here. 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," Warren said in a statement.

Warren's office referred to Clark as the "mastermind" behind the hacks, citing the investigation's findings. Specifically, he was charged with one count of organized fraud over $50,000, 17 counts of communications fraud, one count of fraudulent use of personal information (over $100,000 or 30 or more victims), 10 counts of fraudulent use of information and one count of accessing computer or electronic devices without authority (scheme to defraud).

"Working together, we will hold this defendant accountable," Warren said in a statement.

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