Back to Africa Check

Eleven-year-old hacker who stole $75bn from Swiss bank? No, photos of 14-year-old accused of murdering father

“At 11, he hacked into the computer system of a Swiss bank and transferred $ 75 billion to his father's account,” begins a Facebook post dated 10 June 2021.

The post includes three photos of a boy, handcuffed and in prison overalls, who appears to be in a courtroom. In the first photo the boy is standing while the second and third show him sitting, from different angles. 

“Would you pray for a son like this?” the post ends.

It has been shared in Nigeria and the United Kingdom and viewed more than 15,500 times.

Do the photos show an 11-year-old boy who hacked a Swiss bank’s computer system and transferred $75 billion into his father’s account? We checked. 

Hacker_False

Photos of Zachary Neagle in 2009

The photos first appeared on the Associated Press Images website in May 2009, more than 11 years ago. The captions of all three photos refer to the boy as 14-year-old Zachary Neagle, who made his first appearance in a court in Caldwell Idaho, US where he was charged with the murder of his father. 

According to a later article by Idaho Press, Neagle pleaded guilty to killing his father with a shotgun. He said his father had physically and sexually abused him for years, and claimed he shot his father because his father told him that he would abuse his younger siblings as well. 

Neagle was sentenced to five years in a juvenile corrections facility. He was released in 2014.

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”. What should you do? First, don't delete!

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters