Florida teen charged in Twitter account hacks case pleads not guilty

Graham Ivan Clark, the alleged mastermind behind the hacking of numerous high profile Twitter accounts, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to various counts of fraud. The hearing in Tampa was conducted via a Zoom video call, the Tampa Bay Times reported today.

Clark, 17, is accused of hijacking celebrity accounts to fraudulently solicit bitcoin from followers by tweeting promises to match bitcoin sent to a certain address. In total, Clark procured $117,000 from the scam, per documents obtained by the Times. 

The Florida teen was charged with 11 counts of fraudulent use of personal information, 17 counts of communications fraud and one count each of organized fraud of more than $5,000 and accessing the computer or electronic devices without authority. 

Clark, who was arrested on July 31 in Tampa, will be prosecuted as an adult by Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office, according to the Times' latest news report. He is also scheduled for a bond hearing on Wednesday, with bail set at $725,000.

As previously reported by The Block, Clark has more than $3 million worth of bitcoin assets which prosecutors say seem to be illegally obtained. 

Mason Sheppard, 19, of the United Kingdom and Nima Fazeli, 22 of Orlando are also among the suspects charged separately in last week's case in Northern District of California federal court. 

Sheppard — charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and the intentional access of a protected computer — will face 45 years in federal prison and a $750,000 fine if found guilty for all counts, according to this court document

Fazelia, charged with assisting and abetting the deliberate access to a protected computer, will face five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine if found guilty on all counts, according to the court document.

Fazeli and Sheppard, who are known as "Rolex#0373" and "ever so anxious#001" on the social media platform Discord, operated as brokers for an undisclosed user who went by “Kirk#5270.” Kirk#5270 told the two that he was an employee at Twitter, according to federal agents. 

Kirk#5270 also told Fazeli and Sheppard that he would hijack many famous celebrities’ Twitter accounts if they got him bitcoin payments in return. Upon reaching an agreement, Fazeli and Sheppared shared Kirk's offer on a marketplace popular among hackers: OGUsers. 

However, OGUsers was compromised in April and its data was leaked on the internet including private messages, public forum postings, internet addresses and email addresses. The FBI downloaded the leaked data and traced all online accounts linked to Fazeli and Sheppard, according to the report.