The hackers, led by Mr Clark according to prosecutors, first used their access to Twitter’s internal systems to take over accounts with unusual usernames like @dark and @vague, which they sold to OGUsers for thousands of dollars. But as the day of the attack passed, the hackers changed their tactics. Celebrity accounts and cryptocurrency companies tweeted messages promising to double the money of anyone who sent bitcoin.
But the offer was a scam. “Bitcoin currency was not returned as promised to these victims,” said Darrell Dirks, a prosecutor with the Florida prosecutor, during a trial on Tuesday.
Two other young men, Nima Fazeli and Mason Sheppard, were also arrested and charged with the hack. The cases of Mr Sheppard and Mr Fazeli are ongoing.
Mr. Clark, who appeared in court via videoconference on Tuesday, pleaded guilty to the 30 charges brought against him. In an agreement with prosecutors, Mr. Clark agreed to three years of juvenile prison followed by three years of probation. He also agreed not to use computers without permission or supervision from law enforcement agencies. If he violates the terms of the treaty, he faces 10 years in adult prison.
Because Mr. Clark is classified as a juvenile offender under Florida law that gives young people milder conditions of detention, he may be able to serve part of his sentence in a boot camp. Prosecutors said he had handed over the cryptocurrency he owned at the time of his arrest, and it will be used to pay compensation to the victims of the hack. He is credited with 229 days of time since his arrest last year.
“He took over famous people’s accounts, but the money he stole came from ordinary, hard-working people. Graham Clark must be held accountable for this crime and other potential fraudsters must see the consequences, “Hillsborough District Attorney Andrew Warren said in a statement. “In this case, we were able to draw these conclusions while also realizing that our goal with every child, whenever possible, is that they learn their lesson without ruining their future.”
David Weisbrod, an attorney for Mr. Clark, declined to comment on the plea.