The U.S. Justice Department has charged a 19-year-old who allegedly masterminded the thief of digital currencies through SIM swapping. Together with his co-conspirator, the teen was accused of stealing $16,847 worth of digital currencies from one of his victims.
In a press release, the DoJ revealed that a federal grand jury had indicted the 19-year-old Kyell Brian and 21-year-old Jordan Milleson on charges of wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, wire fraud conspiracy, intentional damage to protected computers and unauthorized access to computers in furtherance of fraud.
The 15-count superseding indictment accuses Milleson of setting up fraudulent Internet domains, conducting phishing and vishing attacks and SIM swap attacks. From September 17 through January 2020, he conspired with Bryan to take over their victims’ digital currency accounts and steal their funds. While Milleson masterminded the hacking, Bryan was in charge of taking over the victims’ digital currency wallets and wiping them clean.
The two contacted their victims via email, phone and text messages purporting to be from reputable companies. They would then lure their victims to provide confidential information which they would then use in SIM swapping.
“Once the defendants gained control over the victims’ mobile phone numbers, they were often able to also gain unauthorized access to victims’ other electronic accounts, including e-mail, social media, and cryptocurrency accounts.”
According to an indictment filed in July at a Maryland district court, the two fraudulently transferred digital currency worth $16,847.47 from the wallet of one of the their victims.
Federal prosecutors brought 13 counts against Milleson, including aggravated identity theft and unauthorized access of a protected computer. If convicted, he faces over 70 years in jail for his crimes. In addition, the prosecutors want him to forfeit the $16,847 he stole from his victim and any other digital currency he gained unlawfully.
For Bryan, the DoJ further accused him of a swatting attack, in which he called the Baltimore police purporting to be Milleson and falsely reported that he had shot his father. The call was payback after Milleson allegedly failed to share the proceeds from the digital currency theft.
Bryan is the latest teenager alleged to have played a key part in a digital currency theft. In May, an investor sued a 15-year-old teen for stealing $24 million from him in a SIM swap attack. Earlier in the year, Canadian authorities arrested and charged an 18-year-old with stealing $50 million worth of digital currencies in a SIM swap attack.
The most prominent teen-led incident, however, has to be the massive Twitter hack in July. The hackers accessed the accounts of some of the most renowned personalities in the world to promote a BTC scam. As CoinGeek reported, federal agents believe that two teenagers masterminded the hack. The feds claimed that they had arrested a 17-year-old and were after his co-conspirator, a 16-year-old.
See also: CoinGeek Live panel on the Future of Digital Asset Security & Custody
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