In a latest development, a student from the U.S. is sentenced to 10-year jail term for sim-swapping cryptocurrency worth colossal $7.5 million. 21-year-old Joel Ortiz hacked as many as 40 cellphones of dissimilar individuals.
On Monday, the Santa Clara County’s District Attorney’s Office said in a statement that the culprit was a ‘prolific’ SIM swapper. According to the Office’s statement, Joel managed to steal over $5.2 million last year in May. The victim was an entrepreneur from Cupertino, California and the amount was stolen ‘in minutes’.
The announcement further revealed that Joel ‘lavishly’ spent all the hacked money on his luxuries. Besides spending $10,000 at Los Angeles clubs, Joel also hired a helicopter to move from his location to one of the music festivals. Moreover, he also spent the stolen money on branded luggage and clothing.
It is pertinent to mention that Joel Ortiz was taken into custody last year from the Los Angeles Airport. The culprit did not plead any contest which means that he accepted the charges without pleading guilty. The charges were accepted against 10 felony thefts earlier this year.
The Santa Clara County Judge Edward Lee, On Friday, sentenced Joel Ortiz to 10-year jail term after two hearings. As a result, the hacker became the one of the first few people to be convicted in the U.S. for stealing cryptocurrency through SIM swapping.
Judge’s statement and the investigation
Judge Edward Lee said in a statement:
“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”
Regional Enforcement Allied Computer Team (REACT) Task Force investigated the case after they discovered (later seized) $400,000 from Joel soon after his apprehension. However, according to Attorney’s Office, rest of the funds have either been spent or been concealed.