On Tuesday, the Justice Department announced the sentence of the last member of a global hacking gang charged with allegedly stealing millions of dollars in bitcoin as part of a “SIM hijacking” operation.
Garrett Endicott, of Missouri, was convicted Monday to ten months in punishable by imprisonment of further than $120,000 for his role in the bitcoin fraud.
The technique, about which community members were arrested in 2019, entailed the hackers seizing control of the victim’s phone number and redirecting calls and messages to their own devices through “SIM hijacking.” This subsequently allowed the gang members to steal from $50,000 and $9 million from victims around the United States by getting access to their victims’ email and bitcoin accounts on their phones.
Individual hijacking victims suffered losses ranging from $2,000 to $5 million.
“These defendants’ activities led in the victims losing millions of dollars, including their entire retirement savings,” acting United States Judge for the District Court for the eastern of Michigan Saima Mohsin said in a statement Tuesday. “This case should serve as a caution to all of us to safeguard our personal or financial information from thieves.”
Endicott received a lower term than some other community members who had already been tried, with Endicott and several others convicted in the Northern City of Michigan.
Ricky Handschumacher of Florida was convicted to four years in jail and ordered to pay a fine of more than $7.6 million; Colton Jurisic of Iowa was sentenced to 42 months in prison and ordered to pay a fine of more over $9.5 million; and Reyad Gafar Abbas of South Carolina was convicted to years of imprisonment and ordered to pay a fine of more than $310,000.
Conor Freedman, an Irish citizen, was earlier sentenced to three in jail by an Irish court, while Ryan Stevenson, a Connecticut resident, was convicted to probation and ordered to make reparations.
“As a consequence of a sophisticated global cryptocurrency and identity fraud operation, The Community’s illicit operations were halted,” acting Senior Agent in Charge James Harris of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Domestic Security Investigation Detroit said in a statement On tuesday.
“Because criminal organisations often use web-based strategies to promote their unlawful operations, this highlights the vulnerability of our personal information and the devastation that may result when it gets into the wrong hands,” Harris added.
Cryptocurrency schemes have grown in popularity as bitcoin has grown in popularity. Google revealed in October that it had blocked a plot by Moscow hackers to defraud YouTube users out of bitcoin, while cryptocurrency virtual marketplaces have been sanctioned recently by the Treasury Department for their own use by criminals to facilitate ransomware victim payments.