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Florida teenager charged with hacking Twitter accounts of Obama, Musk among others

A Tampa teenager was charged with hacking Twitter Inc accounts of famous people including former President Barack Obama, billionaire Bill Gates and Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk, the Florida State Attorney’s Office said on Friday.

The 17-year-old boy on July 15 posted messages under the profiles that solicited investments in bitcoin, a digital currency. A publicly available ledger of bitcoin transactions showed he was able to obtain more than $100,000 that way. Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren told journalists that his office had filed 30 felony charges against the teen, who was in state custody.

“The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Justice conducted a complex nationwide investigation, locating and apprehending the suspect in Hillsborough County,” a statement said.

Warren said the adolescent was being prosecuted under state rather than federal law because Florida law enabled the state to charge him as an adult.

“This was a massive fraud orchestrated right here in our own backyard, and we won’t stand for that,” he said.

Reuters was not immediately able to locate an attorney for the teen.

In a statement, Twitter said it appreciated the “swift actions of law enforcement.”

The U.S. Department of Justice said on Friday that two more people have been charged in relation to a July 15 Twitter hack that took over the accounts of VIPs including former President Barack Obama and billionaire Bill Gates.

In a statement, the Justice Department identified the men as Mason Sheppard, of Bognor Regis in the United Kingdom, and Nima Fazeli of Orlando, Florida.

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Reuters News Service