Joel Ortiz – a 21-year-old student from Boston has been sentenced 10 years in prison for stealing more than $7.5 million in cryptocurrency by hacking victims cellphones.
On Monday, The Santa Clara County’s District Attorney’s Office confirmed that over 40 people fell victims to his SIM-swapping hacks. The Attorney’s Office added that back in May 2018, he stole more than $5.2 million in mere minutes, from a cryptocurrency entrepreneur in Cupertino, California.
He then proceeded to spend his stolen funds of $10,000 on entertainment activities only, including hiring a helicopter to bring him and his peers to a concert, purchasing Gucci luggage and clothing and going to clubs in LA.
He was sentenced on Friday, April 19 by Santa Clara County Judge Edward Lee, after two hearings, which made him one of the first people in the US to be convicted of stealing cryptocurrency by SIM-swapping.
Prosecutor Erin West said: “These are not Robin Hoods. These are crooks who use a computer instead of a gun. They are not just stealing some ethereal, experimental currency. They are stealing college funds, home mortgages, people’s financial lives.”
The case was carried out by the REACT (Regional Enforcement Allied Computer Team) Task Force, which had seized $400,000 after Ortiz was arrested, the rest is either spent or hidden.
Previously, a 36-year-old British man has been reportedly arrested on suspicion of a string of crypto thefts in Germany amounting to EUR 10 million ($11.39 million) worth in IOTA tokens being stolen from 85 victims worldwide.