Twitter hacker and crypto scammer sentenced to five years in prison

Joseph James O'Connor allegedly stole $794,000 worth of cryptocurrency during the 2020 Twitter hack.

Jon Nazca / reuters

On Friday, a federal court sentenced Joseph James O’Conner to five years in prison for his involvement in the 2020 Twitter hack. Last month, the 24-year-old, known as PlugwalkJoe online, plead guilty to a host of cyber crimes, including carrying out a SIM-swapping attack that targeted a TikTok account with millions of followers. The 2020 Twitter hack saw O’Conner and his co-perpetrators obtain access to the company’s backend and subsequently the accounts of Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Barack Obama and more than 100 other high-profile users. O’Conner netted $794,000 in the crypto scam that followed.

"After stealing and fraudulently diverting the stolen cryptocurrency, O'Connor and his co-conspirators laundered it through dozens of transfers and transactions and exchanged some of it for Bitcoin using cryptocurrency exchange services," the Justice Department said. "Ultimately, a portion of the stolen cryptocurrency was deposited into a cryptocurrency exchange account controlled by O'Connor." In 2021, Graham Ivan Clark, the alleged teenage mastermind behind the breach, plead guilty in return for a three-year prison sentence. In addition to his five-year sentence, O’Conner also faces three years of supervised release after his prison term. He must also forfeit the $794,000 he defrauded during the hack.

This article contains affiliate links; if you click such a link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission.