The US Department of Justice has accused a 25-year Florida man of stealing over $20 million worth of cryptocurrencies as part of a sim-swapping scheme. The 25-year-old will serve a prison sentence of 18 months for conducting this scheme.
25-year-old Florida man steals over $20 million in crypto
The DoJ said that the accused participated in a sim-swapping scheme where the SIM card of the victim was linked to another number. This allowed the malicious actors to gain unauthorized access to the victim’s digital wallet. The hackers accessed the wallet associated with a phone number that had been swapped.
The crypto wallet they gained access to had more than $20 million worth of crypto assets. After the hackers accessed the wallet, the now-sentenced Florida man was contacted by one of the participants in the scheme. He was included in an online call that also involved several other individuals.
During this call, the 25-year-old named Nicholas Truglia learned more details about the SIM swapping scheme. He later agreed to receive the stolen crypto assets from the victim’s wallet. The stolen assets were converted into Bitcoin before being shared among the individuals participating in the scheme. The total amount of crypto assets stolen from the victim is estimated to be worth $20 million.
Truglia has been sentenced to 18 months in jail for participating in the scheme. Moreover, he has also been ordered to pay the victim $20,379,007 worth of restitution. He is expected to repay this amount to the victim in 60 days.
The US District Judge handling the case, Alvin K. Hellerstein, said,
Today’s sentencing goes to show that no matter how sophisticated the crime is, this Office will continue to successfully prosecute those who choose to defraud others.
Crypto scams and hacks are on the rise
While this year has seen one of the worst bear markets in crypto history, it has also seen a significant surge in scams and hacks. A recent report by CertiK said that scams on YouTube advertising front-running bots had increased by 500% in 2022. Front-running is a process where an individual uses their knowledge about an unprocessed transaction on the blockchain to trade on a decentralized exchange before the original transaction has been processed.
The CertiK report noted that while these YouTube videos promised to give viewers access to front-running bots, they were instead directed to sites that scammed them as the viewers ran codes they did not understand.
Besides scams, hacks have also increased. Blockchain security firm PeckShield estimates that hacks in the crypto industry in 2022 have surpassed $2.98 billion, with the largest sum coming from the exploit in the Sky Mavis Ronin Bridge earlier this year.
Last week, Ankr, a decentralized finance protocol on the BNB Chain, confirmed that it was the victim of a hack. The hackers drained several million dollars from the exploit that happened on December 1.
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