Tampa teenager accused in Twitter hack pleads not guilty

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Fla., released the photo Graham Ivan Clark, 17, after his arrest Friday, July 31, 2020. Clark is accused of hacking Twitter, gaining access to the account of Bill Gates, Elon Musk and many others. Clark was able to scam people around the glove of more than $100,000 in Bitcoin. (Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office via AP)
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Fla., released the photo Graham Ivan Clark, 17, after his arrest Friday, July 31, 2020. Clark is accused of hacking Twitter, gaining access to the account of Bill Gates, Elon Musk and many others. Clark was able to scam people around the glove of more than $100,000 in Bitcoin. (Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office via AP)

TAMPA, Fla. – A Florida teen identified as the mastermind of a scheme that gained control of Twitter accounts of prominent politicians, celebrities and technology moguls pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to multiple counts of fraud.

Graham Ivan Clark, 17, is accused of using the hijacked Twitter accounts to scam people around the world out of more than $100,000 in Bitcoin.

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. The brief hearing in Tampa took place via the video conferencing service Zoom.

Clark is scheduled for a bond hearing on Wednesday. He remains in the Hillsborough County Jail with bail set at $725,000, according to court records.

Clark was arrested on Friday in Tampa, and the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office is prosecuting him as an adult, a news release said.

Two other men were also charged in the case. Mason Sheppard, 19, of Bognor Regis, U.K., and Nima Fazeli, 22, of Orlando were charged separately last week in California federal court.

As part of the high-profile security breach, bogus tweets were sent out on July 15 from the accounts of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg and a number of tech billionaires including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Celebrities Kanye West and his wife, Kim Kardashian West, were also hacked.

The tweets offered to send $2,000 for every $1,000 sent to an anonymous Bitcoin address.