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A teenager that hacked celebrity social media accounts in exchange for bitcoin is now paying the price.

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On Tuesday, a now 18-year-old in Tampa, who hacked multiple celebrity Twitter accounts last summer to solicit over $100,000 in Bitcoin, pleaded guilty. As a result, he will serve 3 years in prison, and he’s already been credited with time served for 229 days. After he is released, the high schooler will have three additional years on probation.

Graham Ivan Clark was just 17 when prosecutors say he masterminded a scheme that saw the social media accounts for Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Kanye West, Bill Gates, Kim Kardashian, Uber, Apple, and others hacked.

On July 15, 2020, a number of celebrity, politician, and corporate accounts sent out a bunch of messages that preyed on gullible folks. For example, Joe Biden’s account sent out a tweet that said: “I am giving back to the community. All Bitcoin sent to the address below will be sent back doubled! If you send $1,000, I will send back $2,000. Only doing this for 30 minutes … Enjoy!” Messages like this came from several other well-known accounts, as well.

While the messages were clearly not from the actual celebrities whose accounts were hacked, some people believed it, and the scam ended up getting around $117,000 in Bitcoin before it was put to an end. Just a few days later, Clark was arrested.

Following his arrest, authorities learned that the teen was able to convince a Twitter employee that worked in the company’s information technology department, which allowed him access to the site’s customer service portal. Using these fraudulent tweets, he was able to direct those who fell for the scam to send their Bitcoin to his accounts.

Two other collaborators, Nima Fazeli of Orlando and Mason Sheppard of the United Kingdom, are also facing federal charges for their alleged roles in the same scam. Luckily for Clark, his plea agreement allowed him to be sentenced as a “youthful offender,” which saved him from a minimum 10-year punishment had he been convicted as an adult.


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