Twitter suffered a major hack in mid-July last year. Suddenly, in just a few hours, numerous verified accounts such as those of Elon Musk, Apple and Bill Gates began tweeting scams related to bitcoins. Now, eight months later, the man behind the scam has just been sentenced to three years in prison in Florida.
Graham Ivan Clark, a teenager who was 17 when he was accused of leading the attack, has pleaded guilty to the scam. Acknowledging the facts and following a plea deal with prosecutors, he will spend three years in prison and another three years on probation, avoiding the decade of jail time he could have faced.
By being treated as a “juvenile offender”, the teenager responsible for the massive Twitter hack has avoided facing a minimum 10-year jail term for the scam.
The hacking was remarkable given that it affected high-profile accounts both in the United States and around the world. The Twitter profiles of Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Kanye West, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Mike Bloomberg, Warren Buffet, Floyd Mayweather, Kim Kardashian and companies such as Apple and Uber were affected.
The teenager ended up pocketing more than 100,000 dollars in bitcoins thanks to the scam that consisted of impersonating relevant people through their Twitter accounts and asking users to send bitcoins to a certain address to, as the messages claimed, return the amount multiplied by two. The fraud was carried out in conjunction with two other co-conspirators, also convicted, whom he allegedly met on a forum selling usernames. Clark was arrested at his Florida home shortly after the hacking.
The scam involved tweeting messages from the accounts of the affected celebrities encouraging them to send bitcoins to a specified address with the promise of receiving back double the amount transferred.
According to the local Tampa Bay Times, Graham Ivan Clark’s plea deal has allowed him to face a reduced sentence by being treated as a “juvenile offender” compared to the minimum 10-year prison sentence he would have faced as an adult.
Clark will be allowed to serve part of his sentence in a military-style boot camp and will also be prohibited from using computers without permission and without law enforcement supervision. He will also have to submit to searches of his assets and give up passwords to accounts he controls.