20-Y/O Faces 28 Charges for Stealing $5 Million via “SIM Jacking”

Motherboard has reportedly obtained court documents pertaining to the arrest of Joel Ortiz, a 20-year-old from Boston, who is accused of stealing $5 million USD in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Mr. Ortiz and his currently unidentified accomplices stole crypto from roughly 40 victims through a hacking technique known as “SIM jacking.”

20-Year-Old Arrested For Part in Theft of $5 Million in Crypto

It has been reported that on the 12th of July, Californian police arrested a college student accused of being part of a group of criminals responsible for the theft of more than $5 million in cryptocurrencies.

Mr. Ortiz was reportedly arrested at Los Angeles International Airport whilst on his way to Europe donning a Gucci bag presumed to have been paid for with stolen money. The 20-year-old now faces 28 charges, including 13 counts of hacking, 13 counts of identity theft, and 2 counts of grand theft.

Ortiz is currently in jail awaiting his plea hearing on August 9th. His bail was set at $1 million.

First Reported Instance of Crypto Stolen Through ‘SIM Jacking’

Motherboard has claimed that the case comprises the first reported instance in which the increasingly prevalent technique of “SIM jacking” has been used to steal virtual currency.

According to the publication, “SIM swapping consists of tricking a provider like AT&T or T-Mobile into transferring the target’s phone number to a SIM card controlled by the criminal. Once they get the phone number, fraudsters can leverage it to reset the victims’ passwords and break into their online accounts (cryptocurrency accounts are common targets.) In some cases, this works even if the accounts are protected by two-factor authentication.” […]

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