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Mastermind of Massive Twitter Hack Is Sentenced

Graham Ivan Clark, who was 17 at the time, gets 3 years, plus probation
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2021 8:15 AM CDT

(Newser) – A teenager who hacked the Twitter accounts of Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Apple, and Uber as part of a Bitcoin scam last year has agreed to prison time. Graham Ivan Clark, 18, of Florida will serve three years in prison for the scam to solicit Bitcoin transactions after pleading guilty to state charges of organized fraud, per the Guardian. Clark, who was a 17-year-old at the time, convinced a Twitter employee that he was an employee in the IT department last July, the Tampa Bay Times reports. He then infiltrated several high-profile accounts, tweeting out links to a Bitcoin address he controlled and promising payments sent to the address "will be sent back to you doubled!" Clark allegedly pulled in $117,000 in Bitcoin, though his lawyers say he's returned the amount. Twitter responded by blocking all verified accounts for hours.

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Arrested days later, Clark has been held in Hillsborough County jail ever since. Those eight months will qualify as time served, per the Guardian. He was sentenced as a "youthful offender," escaping the minimum 10-year sentence that would've applied to an adult, though that could come into play if he violates three years of probation following his release. He will be in a state prison for young adults but may also serve time in a boot camp, and his computer use will be monitored, per the Times. Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren says he "needs to be held accountable" and "other potential scammers out there need to see the consequences" but the goal with any child "is to have them learn their lesson without destroying their future." Two alleged collaborators, Mason Sheppard of the UK and Nima Fazeli of Orlando, are facing federal charges, per the Verge. (Read more Twitter stories.)

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