17-year-old, Graham Ivan Clark Florida man accused of breaking into Twitter on July 15 has behaved in a manner consistent with a hacker with more than $3 million worth of bitcoin assets, the Tampa Bay Times reported Sunday. Clark’s lawyer, David Weisbrod, gave details of the assets at a court hearing on Saturday.
Referring to the Twitter hack, prosecutors said the bitcoin was obtained illegally because of Clark’s behavior. Weisbrod denied that claim, saying Clark was under criminal investigation last year and that prosecutors seized $15,000 in cash and 400 bitcoins from him at the time. Prosecutors declined to press charges against Clark at the time, he said and returned the money along with 300 bitcoins. Clark has more than $3 million worth of bitcoin assets and $1.5 million in other financial assets, according to court documents.
Weisbrod said he could not think of any other reason why law enforcement should return the money, arguing that the US Department of Justice legitimized Bitcoin, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the FBI.
Clark was arrested on July 31 and faced charges of encouraging a Bitcoin sweepstakes scam by hacking into a popular Twitter account. At Saturday’s hearing, prosecutors set a trial date for Clark, who is accused of the Twitter hack. Prosecutors describe Clark as the mastermind of the hack, but it is unclear why they returned the money, although they reportedly did not want to charge him at the time.
The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York has also charged him with alleged involvement in the hack.
While the other two Individuals Mason Sheppard and Nima Fazeli aged 19 years and 22 years respectively are proceeded under the federal charges since they are adults leaving out Clark on state charges only as being a juvenile.
Federal court prosecutors face a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $725,000 fine, though Clark is facing federal charges as a juvenile. Bail was set for Saturday, but prosecutors took the unusual step of releasing Clark at their request pending trial.