Boy in courtroom images was charged with manslaughter, not hacking bank
CLAIM: Photos show a boy who, at 11 years old, hacked the computer system of a Swiss bank and transferred $75 billion to his father’s account.
AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. An Associated Press photo shows the 14-year-old boy was appearing in court for the first time on charges of killing his father, not hacking a bank.
THE FACTS: Photos shared more than a thousand times on Facebook on Tuesday showed a boy in a courtroom in a yellow jumpsuit and handcuffs. A caption claimed he orchestrated a massive computer hack.
“At 11, he hacked the computer system of a Swiss bank and transferred $ 75 billion to his father’s account,” it read.
Commenters on the post reacted to the false claim, calling him a “genius” who should be recruited by NASA. However, a reverse-image search reveals the boy was in court for allegedly killing his father, not stealing from a bank.
An AP photo dated May 20, 2009, matches one of the images in the post. Its caption explained the handcuffed suspect, who was 14 at the time, was appearing in court in Caldwell, Idaho, on a charge of first degree murder for killing his father. He was charged as an adult.
According to the AP and the Idaho Press-Tribune, the boy pleaded guilty in 2010 for killing his father on a reduced charge of voluntary manslaughter after testifying that his father had sexually abused him. Five years into a seven-year sentence, a judge determined him fit to be released to probation, allowing him back into society in August 2014.
This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.
Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536