A Florida teen who hacked several high-profile Twitter accounts last year agreed to spend three years in prison as part of a plea agreement, authorities said.
The New York Post reports that Graham Ivan Clark, 18, pleaded guilty to 30 counts of communications fraud and other state crimes, according to Florida prosecutors.
The plea agreement allowed Clark to be sentenced as a “youthful offender,” and he will serve his time in a state prison designate for young adults. He will also be on probation for three years post-release. Clark would avoid a minimum 10-year sentence if he were convicted as an adult by taking the plea deal.
“Graham Clark needs to be held accountable for that crime, and other potential scammers out there need to see the consequences,” said Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren in a statement. “In this case, we’ve been able to deliver those consequences while recognizing that our goal with any child, whenever possible, is to have them learn their lesson without destroying their future.”
Clark appeared virtually in court on Thursday from the Hillsborough County Jail, where he’s been behind bars since he was arrested last year. He acknowledged his guilty plea and said little else, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Last July, Clark was able to access Twitter’s systems by convincing an employee that he worked in the IT department. He took over the accounts of multiple famous people, such as Barack Obama, Elon Musk, and Kanye West, to scam people out of Bitcoin. Clark netted over $117,000 before the scam was shut down. The teen was forced to give all the money back.
“I am giving back to the community due to Covid-19,” tweeted from Barack Obama’s accounts. “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!”
Two others, Mason Sheppard of the United Kingdom and Nima Fazeli of Orlando, have also been brought up on federal charges for taking part in the scam.