Joel Ortiz, a scholar at Boston high school, has been sentenced to ten years in jail for stealing cryptocurrency by hacking through cell phones. This was announced on 22 April by the Santa Clara prosecutors. Ortiz became one of the first men to be incarcerated by the United States for this kind of offense. Last year, Ortiz was taken into custody at the Los Angeles airport and has faced trial ever since.
How Ortiz Hacked Mobile Phones to Steal Cryptocurrencies
Ortiz’s modus operandi included illegal SIM swaps in which he usually called a telecom company claiming that he was the owner of the SIM card and wanted to port his number to a new one. He then managed to convince the company by giving them stolen information like address proofs or any security numbers.
After the transfer of the number to a new SIM card, he could easily get access to the crypto accounts of his victims. Owing to this, prosecutors have named him a prolific SIM swapper who targets his victim to get access to their accounts and steal cryptocurrency from them.
How Ortiz Spent the Money
From around 40 victims, Ortiz has stolen more than $7.5 million through cell phone hacking. According to the indictment, he has spent that money on various things like buying Gucci clothes, gambling in nightclubs of Los Angeles, and hiring a chopper for him and his friends to attend a music festival.
According to the prosecutors, a cryptocurrency businessman in Cupertino lost $5.2 million in just a few seconds last summer, thanks to Ortiz’s impeccable hacking skills.
Recovery of Stolen Money
Investigation says that the department has only been able to recover $400,000 from him and they believe that the rest of it has either been spent or hidden somewhere. Prosecutor Erin West said that people like Joel are not Robin Hood. They are just criminals who use computers instead of a gun to loot other people for their own benefits. They are not only stealing cryptocurrency from the victims, but they are also taking their home mortgages, college funds, and basically their financial lives.