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Pictured: British teenager wanted over £76,000 Twitter hack

Staring at his phone, he looked like any other tech-obsessed youngster.

But just a few years on, Mason Sheppard has achieved notoriety on both sides of the Atlantic.

The 19-year-old from Bognor Regis in West Sussex was one of three accused by the US Department of Justice on Friday for last month’s hack which targeted 130 accounts.

The scam saw celebrity and VIPs – including former president Barack Obama, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Tesla’s Elon Musk and Kim Kardashian West – appear to send tweets urging followers to send them the online currency Bitcoin.

In return, the tweets falsely promised that the senders would get double the value back in return. 

The hackers managed to raise £76,000 in more than 400 transactions before Twitter took action, according to US officials.

Sheppard, who was around 13 when the picture on the right was taken, is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and the intentional access of a protected computer.

He may be extradited if this is requested by US prosecutors. His charges carry a maximum penalty of 45 years.

Nima Fazeli, 22, from Florida, was charged with aiding and abetting the intentional access of a protected computer. 

Graham Ivan Clark, 17, was arrested on 30 charges and is said to be the mastermind of the attack.

Professor Alan Woodward, a cyber security expert at Surrey University, told the Sunday Telegraph that if he were Sheppard he ‘would be slightly worried’.

He said: ‘They did not just break in but they tried to use it for a criminal scam.’

Friends of Sheppard yesterday said he had been left troubled after his father died from brain cancer six years ago. 

A family friend said: ‘The dad died when Mason was a young and impressionable lad. They are terrified that Mason will be extradited.’

He attended St Philip Howard School where peers described him as ‘polite and funny’.

Sheppard, nicknamed Chaewon, is the latest Briton at risk of extradition over hacking.

In 2002, Gary McKinnon, who has Asperger’s syndrome, was accused of hacking in to the Pentagon. 

Then home secretary Theresa May halted the extradition after a ten-year battle. 

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