The Florida-based juvenile who is the mastermind of the mega Twitter Bitcoin hack owns more than $3 million (over Rs 22.5 crore) worth of Bitcoin, the media reported.
Graham Ivan Clark, 17, has been charged, along with two more young individuals, by the US Department of Justice with hacking Twitter last month that compromised the accounts of 130 high-profile celebrities, politicians and businesses like Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Apple and Uber.
According to Tampa Bay Times, the Tampa teen made his first court appearance over the weekend and described in “greater detail how they say he pulled it off”.
Clark appeared on a video screen in a small courtroom in front of County Judge Joelle Ann Ober.
Under Florida law, it took 10 per cent of the $750,000 bail set — $72,500 — to free Clark pending trial. He faces state charges because he is a juvenile, according to the federal authorities.
Clark hired 22-year-old Nima Fazeli of Orlando and 19-year-old Mason Sheppard of the UK “as proxies” to “manipulate” Twitter employees and access to the company’s system.
“Prosecutors sought bail at $1 million per charge for each of Clark’s 30 counts and argued Florida case law says he must prove the money used to post his bail was legitimately obtained”.
“Because, based upon the conduct of this defendant, I believe it’s appropriate to assume that every single penny that this defendant has access to is by ill-gotten gains,” the prosecutor was quoted as saying.
“And we’re talking about millions of dollars.”
Clark faces 17 counts of communications fraud, 11 counts of fraudulent use of personal information and one count each of organised fraud.
The 19-year-old Mason Sheppard (aka “Chaewon”) of the UK has been charged in a criminal complaint in the Northern District of California with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and the intentional access of a protected computer.
“Nima Fazeli, aka “Rolex,” 22, of Orlando, Florida, was charged in a criminal complaint in the Northern District of California with aiding and abetting the intentional access of a protected computer,” the Department of Justice said in a statement last week.
Twitter revealed that the massive hack that spread a cryptocurrency scam by hijacking accounts of high-profile celebrities, politicians and businesses was a result of a phone spear phishing attack.
The attackers targeted 130 Twitter accounts, ultimately tweeting from 45, accessing the DM (Direct Messages) inbox of 36, and downloading the Twitter data of seven accounts.
The incident raised concerns around Twitter tools and levels of employee access.