While there are immense benefits to the use of cryptocurrency including faster transactions and increased privacy, there are some downsides. One of these is the emergence of various cryptocurrency-related scams that run rampant on the internet and they often use extortion, false claims, and even impersonation to lure their victims. One of such people is Graham Ivan Clark, a 17-year old who hacked the accounts of prominent personalities on Twitter to facilitate his cryptocurrency scam.
The scam was perpetrated by illegally gaining access to the Twitter accounts of celebrities such as Joe Biden, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Kanye West.
After doing this, tweets were sent out to their followers asking them to send bitcoin to a specific wallet address with promises to double the money for followers.
It is reported that Clark made $117,000 in the three hours that the tweets were publicly available.
The teen has been formally charged at the Hillsborough Circuit Court and is currently in jail on $725,000 bail. He faces up to 30 charges with the possibility of up to 200 years in jail but had pled not guilty thus far.
He is not alone, however, as two suspects, Nima Fazeli and Mason Sheppard, are also being charged for similar crimes.
The two had been operating on Discord, a popular social media platform, under the usernames Rolex#0373 and ever so anxious#001. They had also been active on OGUsers, which was a forum for hackers.
Further complicating the case is the fact that the two worked as brokers for another forum user identified as Kirk#5270. According to official documents released by the FBI, Kirk#5270 claimed to work for Twitter.
Both the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of California declined to release the identity of Kirk#5270 and Clark is not named in the federal charges.
In April 2020 however, the forum itself was hacked and a plethora of information from it was released to the internet. This allowed FBI agents to trace some of the illegal transactions to Coinbase, which then provide them with photo IDs of the individuals involved. One of the IDs was linked to Florida and the other to the United Kingdom.
They now face charges ranging from computer intrusion, computer intrusion, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and conspiracy to launder money.
Clark’s History of Criminal Activity
This is not the first time that Clark has been in hot water with the authorities. He had been investigated last year for stealing bitcoin and returned $900,000 to victims earlier this year. He then attempted to resume his criminal activities.
He currently faces 11 counts of fraudulent use of personal information, one count of organized fraud over $5,000, 17 counts of communications fraud, and accessing a computer or electronic device without authority. This is related to his hacking of celebrities’ Twitter accounts to lure fans into sending him bitcoin for which he has pled not guilty.