Hacker arrested for stealing crypto-assets worth $1 Million in ‘SIM Swapping’ scam

Dennis Wafula

November 22, 2018

Nicholas Truglia, a 21 year old man, has been arrested after he was identified as the hacker behind multiple ‘SIM Swapping’ hackings. SIM swapping is a mode of hacking in which the hacker takes over a phone number by duping wireless carriers, then uses that information to access and drain cryptocurrency accounts. The hacker hijacks your phone without your knowledge and locks you out of operating it.

21 counts of economic crimes

As per documents filed in court, the suspect was charged with 21 counts of economic crimes, including; identity theft, fraud, embezzlement, crimes that “involve a pattern of related felony conduct,” and attempted grand theft.

According to the arresting officials, he hacked into the phones of multiple Silicon Valley executives in his first attempt which was unsuccessful. In another attempt, he was able to get away with $1 million from the accounts of a San Francisco resident-Robert Ross, a father of two. Mr. Ross said he had opened several e-wallet accounts in which he had been saving for his daughter’s college.

AT&T network Hijacked

The victim says that on Oct. 26, he noticed his phone suddenly lose its signal. Fazed with the rare occurrence, he visited a nearby Apple store to seek help. He also got on the phone with his network provider- AT&T.  According to the investigating officials however, the hacker proved too swift, draining half a million U.S. dollars from MR. Ross’ Coinbase and Gemini e-wallets.

According to a felony complaint filed this month in California state court, the suspect lifted the $1 million from Ross’ two cryptocurrency accounts. Speaking to the press, Erin West, the deputy district attorney of Santa Clara County stated that, “It’s a whole new wave of crime.” He added that “It’s a new way of stealing of money: They target people that they believe to have cryptocurrency.”

Converted proceeds into crypto before moving it offshore

After obtaining the funds, Nicholas Truglia converted the money to cryptocurrency and moved it to his own accounts before Ross was able to regain control of his phone number. Officials were able to recover $300,000 from a hard drive found a computer in his 42nd Street high-rise apartment in Manhattan. The remaining amount is yet to be accounted for.

The transactions leading to the concealment of the stolen funds were traced through the help of the blockchain technology which publicly records all cryptocurrency transactions. He has since acceded to be extradited to Santa Clara to answer the charges in the California court where he is expected to take plea in December. CRYPTO IS COMING!