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Courts / Law

Tampa Twitter Hacker Sentenced To Three Years In Prison, Three Years Probation

man with shaved head, wearing a surgical mask and prison jumpsuit, looks at camera
Graham Ivan Clark, seen at his sentencing hearing Tuesday, March 16, 2021, will serve three years in a juvenile facility to be followed by three years of probation for masterminding a hack of Twitter accounts.

Graham Ivan Clark, who was 17 at the time of the July hack, used accounts from people like President Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama, and Bill Gates, to solicit more than $117,000 in the cryptocurrency Bitcoin from unsuspecting victims.

A plea agreement has been reached in the case of a Tampa teenager who hacked Twitter last July.

Graham Ivan Clark took over the accounts of dozens of people, including President Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Kanye West, and Kim Kardashian.

Investigators said Clark, working with Nima Fazeli, 22, of Orlando, and Matthew Sheppard, 19, of the United Kingdom, also hacked accounts from companies like Apple and Uber.

Twitter employees were tricked into giving out information that allowed Clark, who was 17 at the time, to take control of any account.

The three then sold access to some accounts, while Clark used the more prominent accounts to solicit more than $117,000 in the cryptocurrency Bitcoin from unsuspecting victims.

"Clark took over the accounts of famous people, but the money he stole came from regular hard working people," Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren said in a videotaped statement. "He needs to be held accountable for that crime, and other potential scammers out there need to face their consequences.

Clark, who was arrested a few days after the July 15 breach, turned 18 while in jail. He faced thirty counts, including organized fraud and multiple counts of communications fraud and fraudulent use of personal information.

Under the plea agreement, he received a sentence of three years in a juvenile facility to be followed by three years of probation — the maximum allowed under the state's youthful offender law.

"In this case, we've been able to achieve justice, deliver those consequences, while recognizing that our goal with any child, whenever possible, is to hold them accountable and have them learn their lesson without destroying their future," said Warren.

The time Clark has already served will be applied to his sentence. If he violates his probation, he'll face a minimum ten year sentence in adult prison.

He'll also be barred from using computers without permission and supervision from law enforcement.

Fazeli and Sheppard face charges in a federal court in California.

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