Tampa 17-year-old was mastermind behind hack on Twitter in July, Hillsborough State Attorney says

Posted at 4:24 PM, Jul 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-31 16:24:30-04

TAMPA, Fla. — A Tampa teen is responsible for scamming people of prominent Twitter accounts on July 15.

Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren has filed 30 felony charges against a 17-year-old. He perpetrated the "Bit-Con" hack of Twitter accounts including Bill Gates, Barack Obama and Elon Musk on July 15.

“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. This massive fraud was orchestrated right here in our backyard, and we will not stand for that,” State Attorney Warren said.

An investigation revealed the teen was the mastermind behind the recent hack of Twitter, officials said. He was arrested in Tampa on July 31.

The teen stole the identities of prominent people, posted messages in their names directing victims to send Bitcoin to accounts associated with himself. He had more than $100,000 in Bitcoin in just one day, officials said.

“I want to congratulate our federal law enforcement partners—the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, the FBI, the IRS, and the Secret Service—as well as the Florida Department of Law enforcement. They worked quickly to investigate and identify the perpetrator of a sophisticated and extensive fraud,” State Attorney Warren said.

“This defendant lives here in Tampa, he committed the crime here, and he’ll be prosecuted here,” Warren added.

The FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice conducted a complex nationwide investigation and located the teen in Hillsborough County.

The teen is facing the following charges:

  • Organized fraud of over $50,000
  • 17 counts of communications fraud of over $300
  • Fraudulent use of personal information of over $100,000 or 30 or more victims
  • 10 counts of fraudulent use of personal information
  • Access to computer or electronic device without authority, scheme to defraud

“Working together, we will hold this defendant accountable,” Warren said. “Scamming people out of their hard-earned money is always wrong. Whether you’re taking advantage of someone in person or on the internet, trying to steal their cash or their cryptocurrency—it’s fraud, it’s illegal, and you won’t get away with it.”