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The nation in brief

by Compiled Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports | July 22, 2021 at 3:47 a.m.

Brit charged in '20 VIP Twitter hack

A British man has been charged in the United States in a Twitter hack last summer that compromised the accounts of prominent U.S. politicians, celebrities and technology moguls, the Justice Department said Wednesday.

Joseph O'Connor, 22, was arrested in the coastal resort town of Estepona, Spain, on a warrant accusing him of involvement in a July 2020 hack of more than 130 accounts, and of hacks that prosecutors said took over TikTok and Snapchat accounts, including "one of the most viewed and followed" TikTok stars.

A criminal complaint filed in federal court in California does not identify whose account was compromised, but the date in the charging document matches up with the date that Addison Rae -- who has about 82 million followers -- revealed that she had been hacked.

The complaint charges O'Connor -- who went by the online handle PlugWalkJoe -- with crimes including cyberstalking, making extortive and threatening communications, and intentionally accessing a computer without authorization.

During the high-profile security breach a year ago, fake tweets were sent from the accounts of people such as Barack Obama and Amazon's then-CEO Jeff Bezos asking their followers to send Bitcoin payments. O'Connor is at least the fourth suspect charged in the hack.

A Florida teenager considered the operation's mastermind was sentenced in March to three years in prison.

Flooding kills one person; 2 missing

RUSTIC, Colo. -- A woman was found dead and two men were missing after rain triggered flooding and mudslides in an area of northern Colorado burned by a wildfire last year, authorities said Wednesday.

The woman's body was found near the community of Rustic, about 100 miles northwest of Denver, after a mudslide sent a large amount of debris into a scenic, winding canyon Tuesday evening, destroying at least five structures, the Larimer County sheriff's office said.

Divers were trying to find the woman's body and a vehicle from the Cache la Poudre River that runs through Poudre Canyon west of Fort Collins, while crews on foot searched for the two missing men with help from drones, the sheriff's office said.

Flooding also occurred along a 30-mile stretch of Highway 14, a popular place for camping, fishing and rafting during the summer. The flooding triggered a half-dozen mudslides, temporarily closing the road.

The area burned last year in the 326-square-mile Cameron Peak Fire, which likely contributed to the flooding and mudslides, sheriff's spokesman Jered Kramer said.

10 people accused of jobless scams

BATON ROUGE -- Ten Louisiana residents are accused in scams that defrauded pandemic unemployment programs in California and Louisiana out of more than $1 million, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said.

Louisiana Bureau of Investigation agents learned that multiple groups operating across several Louisiana parishes conspired to defraud the two covid-19 unemployment insurance programs, according to a news release sent Tuesday.

More than 100 false claims to California's Employment Development Department netted $1 million for eight people, and five of them also got more than $60,000 that they weren't due from the Louisiana Workforce Commission, the attorney general's office said. Six have been arrested, and two are being sought.

It said two other people were arrested in separate investigations.

Print Headline: Brit charged in '20 VIP Twitter hack Flooding kills one person; 2 missing 10 people accused of jobless scams


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