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Crypto SIM-swapper used stolen coins to buy a house, cars, and more

By:
on Dec 13, 2019
Updated: Mar 11, 2020
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  • Recent US court indictment claims that Anthony Francis Faulk used a technique known as SIM-swapping to steal cryptocurrencies from their owners.
  • The alleged SIM-swapper faces up to 20 years in prison for stealing coins and using the money to fund a 'superstar lifestyle.'
  • The SIM-swapping technique is seemingly becoming a trend, with criminals stealing large amounts in cryptocurrency from investors.

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According to the US court indictment, one Anthony Faulk, who is believed to be a cryptocurrency SIM-swapper, used stolen funds to buy quite a bit of expensive goods. The documents claim that he stole enough money to purchase a house, multiple expensive sports cars, a Rolex, rap music, and even diamond jewelry.

The document further claims that Faulk obtained the money through a scheme involving cryptocurrency, fiat money, and property. The funds were obtained illegally, supposedly through fraud and extortion.

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The authorities seem to believe that he targeted assets that were owned by cryptocurrency investors and officials of several crypto-based companies. Further, his operation lasted from around October 2016 until May 2018. Judging from his purchases, officials believe that his goal was to try and experience a superstar lifestyle.

According to the document, everything that he purchased with the funds obtained from SIM-swapping is subject to criminal forfeiture. As for Faulk himself, he currently faces a $250,000 fine, as well as a statutory sentence of 20 years in prison.

However, if he also gets convicted of the extortion charge, he might spend two years in prison, with $250,000 fine. For now, he is expected to appear in court in less than a month, on January 9th, 2020.

SIM-swapping on the rise

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A larger concern of the authorities right now is the fact that SIM-swapping appears to be growing in popularity. There were numerous reports of criminals using this technique to steal cryptocurrencies from their rightful owners. In one example, attachers stole more than $200,000 in crypto from a gamer. Another case saw a group of people stealing $24 million from a Bitcoin investor known as Michael Terpin.

The threat of SIM-swappers is currently great enough that even the private sector is looking into potential methods of protection, including Google’s own engineers.

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