A U.S. court has sentenced a man accused of conspiring to defraud cryptocurrency owners to three years in prison. The court also ordered the man to pay $2,816,433 in restitution to 11 victims of his Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) swap fraud scheme.

SIM Swap Fraud Scheme

A United States district court has sentenced to 36 months in prison a man accused of being part of a conspiracy to defraud cryptocurrency owners. According to a press statement issued by the U.S. Attorney’s office, the man, Anthony Francis Faulk, was also ordered to pay $2,816,433 in restitution to 11 victims of the SIM swap fraud scheme.

As per the Aug. 18 press statement, a U.S. federal grand jury had determined on Dec. 10, 2019, that Faulk’s conspiracy to commit wire fraud violated 18 U.S.C. § 1349. The grand jury also determined that Faulk’s interstate communications with intent to extort were in violation of f 18 U.S.C. § 875(d). However, the extortion count was dismissed by U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick.

Assets Worth Approximately $20 Million Forfeited

In his written plea agreement, Faulk admitted to hatching a plan to fleece and extort cryptocurrency owners. The plan, which was executed between October 2016 and May 2018, involved tricking mobile phone operators into giving Faulk and his accomplices Matthew Ditman and Ahmad Hared control of victims’ cellphone numbers. Once they gained control of the numbers, Faulk would use this to hack and steal their victims’ digital assets.

After successfully draining the funds, Faulk and his colleagues allegedly proceeded to extort more money from victims by threatening to further compromise their accounts.

Meanwhile, in addition to the three-year sentence and the restitution, the court also ordered the seizure of assets “constituting or derived from proceeds obtained by Faulk’s crime.” Some of the assets forfeited include a home in Latrobe, Pennsylvania with an estimated value of nearly $1 million. Three JPMorgan Chase accounts holding more than $18.7 million and three motor vehicles were also forfeited.

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