A 21-year-old man in the United States has become one of the first people to be jailed for stealing cryptocurrency by hacking into a mobile phone. The individual, Joel Ortiz, pleading guilty to the charges of theft, had stolen $7.5 million in cryptocurrency, and has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The Office of the District Attorney in the county of Santa Clara published a notice that revealed that Ortiz had stolen funds from at least 40 victims, and that he subsequently spent it on extravagances, as described by the notice,
After his thefts, Ortiz spent his loot lavishly – including $10,000 nights at Los Angeles clubs, hiring a helicopter to bring him and some friends to a music festival, and on Gucci luggage and clothing.
The crime was executed by orchestrating an illegal SIM swap, which allowed the guilty to bypass two factor authentication.
Prosecutor Erin West said of the crime,
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.
Cases of Theft Continue to Occur
Despite the market gaining some legitimacy in the eyes of established entities, the space is still plagued by exchange and ATM hacks, as well as direct theft from users.
Earlier this year Canadian authorities arrested 4 individuals who were responsible for a theft of $200,000 from Bitcoin ATMs, where they had exploited a flaw that allowed them to double spend. South Korean exchange, Bithumb, was also recently hacked and $20 million in EOS and XRP tokens were stolen in what was suspected to be an insider job.