Court hearings in the case of the mass hacking of Twitter accounts against Graham Ivan Clark, a 17-year-old guy from Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida, began on August 5.
On July 15, a Florida teen hacker gained access to high-profile Twitter accounts of Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, as well as Apple, Uber, and other companies.
A fraudulent scheme involving stealing prominent people's identity and posting messages on their behalf asking to transfer bitcoins allowed a Tampa teenager to earn more than $100,000 in just one day.
The main difficulty for investigators was that bitcoin, being a cryptocurrency, is difficult to trace in fraud theft. According to the State Attorney's Office, the FBI and the US Department of Justice have identified the suspect following a complex nationwide investigation.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hearings must take place online through the popular Zoom service. The broadcast was publicly available, but administrators were apparently unable to set appropriate privacy settings for participants: for example, set a password for them. It led to several people connecting to the conversation under the guise of CNN and BBC journalists. The unknown turned out to be prankers – they started interrupting the judge, using foul language, and turning on rap songs.
As a result, one of the prankers turned on a video from Pornhub, a popular service with adult videos, and shared it to the general screen.
Almost a minute after the porn video appeared on the general screen, the judge had to suspend the hearing. The online meeting had lasted less than half an hour. After the break, returning to the broadcast did not help as the prankers continued to do their job.
During this time, Graham Clark's lawyers only managed to ask the court to reduce the amount of bail from $750 thousand to a more reasonable one, but the judge rejected such a petition.
Graham Ivan Clark became the mastermind of a scheme that helped him gained control of Twitter accounts of prominent politicians, celebrities, and technology moguls. On Tuesday, he pleaded not guilty for multiple fraud counts. He worked together with a 22-year-old Orlando girl known as "Rolex" and a 19-year-old Briton under the pseudonym "Chaewon."
Clark is now in prison. Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren has filed 30 fraud charges against him. He is charged with 17 counts of communications fraud, 11 counts of fraudulent use of personal information, and one count each of organized fraud of more than $5,000 and accessing computers or electronic devices without authority. His trial will continue in Hillsborough County, as he lives in Tampa and committed the crime here.