Three people charged over high-profile Twitter attack

17-year-old Tampa teen among those facing charges linked to Twitter breach which targeted accounts of verified figures.

Elad Benari, Canada ,


Three people, including a 17-year-old Tampa teen, face charges linked to the largest breach ever on Twitter which targeted the accounts of verified figures, including Bill Gates and former President Barack Obama.

In a statement released Friday and quoted by USA Today, the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office in Florida said the teen was the "mastermind" behind the hack, which involved posting messages on high-profile Twitter accounts soliciting bitcoin.

The teen faces 30 felony counts including 17 counts of communications fraud, organized fraud and fraudulent use of personal information. The teen was arrested on Friday, said the attorney's office, and has been charged as an adult.

"These crimes were perpetrated using the names of famous people and celebrities, but they’re not the primary victims here," said Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren in a statement. "This ‘Bit-Con’ was designed to steal money from regular Americans from all over the country, including here in Florida."

Two other individuals have been charged for alleged roles in the incident, said the Justice Department in a statement Friday.

Mason Sheppard, 19, of Bognor Regis in the United Kingdom, faces multiple charges including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and the intentional access of a protected computer, said DOJ.

Also charged was 22-year-old Nima Fazeli of Orlando, for allegedly aiding and abetting the intentional access of a protected computer.

In the hacking attack took place earlier this month, posts trying to dupe people into sending the hackers Bitcoin were tweeted by the official accounts of Apple, Uber, Gates, Joe Biden, Elon Musk and many others, forcing Twitter to lock large numbers of accounts in damage control.

More than $100,000 worth of the virtual currency was sent to email addresses mentioned in the tweets, according to, which monitors crypto transactions.

Twitter later said that hackers had "manipulated" some of its employees to access the accounts that were hacked.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)