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US charges three people including minor for Twitter crypto scam

The United States Department of Justice on July 31 announced charges against three individuals for the cryptocurrency scam that took over several prominent Twitter accounts in July. The office of Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew H. Warren said that the hack was masterminded by Graham Ivan Clark, a 17 year old in Tampa, Florida who goes by aliases like “Open” and “Scrim”. Clark will be tried as an adult as state law in Florida allows minors to be charged as adults in some cases of financial fraud.

Warren said that the investigation that led to Clark’s arrest was carried out by the FBI, the US Internal Revenue Service, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Secret Service. Mason Sheppard and Nima Fazeli, 19 and 22 years old respectively, were also charged. Sheppard lives in Bognor Regis in the UK, and was charged with “wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and the intentional access of a protected computer,” while Fazeli was charged with “aiding and abetting the intentional access of a protected computer.” Investigations in the case are ongoing.

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Twitter’s hack last month happened after attackers were able to gain access to internal company tools to reset passwords on several prominent accounts, such as those of Elon Musk, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and more. The attackers then used their access to post a Bitcoin address, promising people who sent them money that they would send back double of what they sent. 45 of the 130 accounts targeted by the attackers were compromised, and a full archive of eight users’ personal information, including personal messages, were downloaded by attackers.

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

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