Graham Ivan Clark, the Florida teen identified as the mastermind of the hijacking of dozens of celebrity Twitter accounts in July 2020, will serve three years in jail and three years probation.
Clark, who turned 18 in jail, was not present for the trial hearing, which took place by video conference. The penalty was part of his plea deal offered by prosecutors to allow him to benefit from the ‘youthful offender’ sentencing consideration.
Defendants who qualify for this status can serve some of their sentence at a boot camp as the designation allows courts to impose less punitive sanctions.
Clark was banned from using computers without permission but received credit for serving 239 days in prison since his arrest last summer.
He was accused of gaining access to dozens of celebrities’ Twitter accounts, including President Joe Biden, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and former President Barack Obama among them. Prosecutors say Clark sent tweets soliciting others to send Bitcoin payments, promising people to send them back twice as much as they donated.
Investigators accused Clark of being the mastermind behind the biggest hack in Twitter history. But they say he pulled it off with help from two teens from Orlando and the UK, who were also charged for their alleged roles in the July 15 hack.
Messages were posted from the famous accounts telling followers to send Bitcoin payments to email addresses, swindling more than $180,000 out of unsuspecting victims in the process.
Clark was able to get control of about 130 Twitter accounts by compromising a Twitter employee. Furthermore, the hackers were behind taking over the Twitter accounts of crypto platforms Bitfinex, Gemini and Coinbase, as well as Tron CEO, Justin Sun and Bitcoin.com as their handles published the same message of “giving back 5000 BTC to the community.” Kucoin, as wells as industry news outlet CoinDesk, have lost control of their Twitter handles.