DOJ Charges Three for $400 Million SIM Swap Heist Against FTX

Vignesh Karunanidhi
DOJ Charges Three for $400 Million SIM Swap Heist Against FTX
Source: Outlook India

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has unveiled indictments against three individuals for allegedly stealing over $400 million from the now-bankrupt FTX crypto exchange. The individuals reportedly used an elaborate SIM swap scheme to access internal accounts.

According to the filings submitted last week, defendants Robert Powell, Emily Hernandez, and Carter Rohn face conspiracy and fraud charges for perpetrating SIM swapping attacks on dozens of victims from March 2021 through April 2023.

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A SIM swap scheme involves fraudulently tricking a mobile carrier into transferring a target’s phone number onto a SIM card controlled by the attackers. Additionally. this grants access to any online accounts linked to the compromised cell number, including two-factor authentication codes used for enhanced login security.

How did the FTX attack unfold?

By exploiting vulnerabilities at AT&T, the trio gained control of an FTX employee’s phone number to infiltrate exchange systems and steal cryptocurrency worth $400 million.

Although the indictment refers to FTX as “Victim Company-1,” Bloomberg has since confirmed with two sources that the stolen funds belonged to FTX.

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The fresh charges come barely a month after Bankman-Fried himself was convicted on fraud and conspiracy counts over FTX’s collapse. In addition, he now faces a maximum prison sentence of 115 years as damages continue to emerge from the wreckage.