The breach sparked a massive outcry from Capitol Hill, with lawmakers demanding the social media giant quickly come clean about the circumstances around the breach. Several Senate panels, including Intelligence, Commerce and Homeland Security, have been weighing if they should launch their own investigations into the incident.
Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren’s office announced Friday that it filed 30 felony charges against Clark this week, including 17 counts of communications fraud and 11 counts of fraudulent use of personal information. Clark was arrested Friday and booked into the Hillsborough County jail without bond, according to sheriff’s office records.
Federal authorities accused the other the two of acting as middlemen in the sale of stolen Twitter accounts.
Sheppard used a personal driver’s license to verify himself with the Binance and Coinbase cryptocurrency exchanges, according to DOJ’s filings, which said his accounts were later found to have sent and received some of the scammed bitcoin.
Fazeli likewise used a driver’s license to verify himself with Coinbase, where accounts controlled by “Rolex” allegedly sent or received payments, the prosecutors wrote.
An “unknown individual,” using the handle “Kirk#5270” on the messaging platform Discord, is suspected to be the one who gained access to Twitter’s internal systems, according to the federal prosecutors’ complaints. The documents do not say whether Kirk#5270 is Clark.
Prosecutors said the scheme to defraud “stole the identities of prominent people” and “posted messages in their names directing victims to send Bitcoin” to accounts that were associated with the teen. The scheme reaped more than $117,000 in Bitcoin in just one day, the federal prosecutors alleged.
The attack targeted 130 Twitter accounts, tweeted from 45 of them, accessed the direct messages of 36 and downloaded data from 7 accounts, the company said previously.
“These crimes were perpetrated using the names of famous people and celebrities, but they’re not the primary victims here. This ‘Bit-Con’ was designed to steal money from regular Americans from all over the country, including here in Florida,” Warren said in a statement. “This massive fraud was orchestrated right here in our backyard, and we will not stand for that.”
Twitter issued a statement shortly after the arrest, thanking law enforcement.
“We appreciate the swift actions of law enforcement in this investigation and will continue to cooperate as the case progresses,” the company said. “For our part, we are focused on being transparent and providing updates regularly.”
Twitter has also kept officials on the Hill apprised of the progress if the investigation, one person there said Friday.
“We’ve continued to get contemporaneous and largely proactive briefings and updates from Twitter about this hack, including this latest news,” a House Intelligence Committee official told POLITICO on the condition of anonymity to discuss the panel’s oversight.