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University of California student allegedly tapped into people’s cell phones to steal their cryptocurrency

Richard Yuan Li, 21, took over no less than 40 folks’s cell telephones from his dorm room, prosecutors say.

A 21-year-old scholar on the College of California San Diego allegedly commandeered the mobile phone accounts of no less than 40 folks to plunder their cryptocurrency wallets, prosecutors mentioned.

Richard Yuan Li, of Hercules, Calif., is accused of working what known as a SIM-swap rip-off from his dorm room at Argo Corridor. A SIM card — or subscriber identification module — is the chip inside a telephone that connects a telephone with its quantity and account.

They are saying Li conspired with a mobile phone firm worker to have unsuspecting victims’ SIMs and cell-phone accounts transferred to at least one contained in a stolen iPhone he possessed.

As soon as Li had gained entry to the victims’ accounts, prosecutors say he and different unnamed conspirators would use the telephone’s two-factor authentication credentials to reset passwords and acquire entry to the victims’ e-mail, financial institution accounts and cryptocurrency wallets.

In no less than one case, prosecutors say Li stole a big quantity of a New Orleans physician’s cryptocurrency after which tried to blackmail him into handing over a further $640,000 price of bitcoin by threatening to share nude pictures taken from the physician’s e-mail with folks he knew, in line with courtroom filings.

Federal prosecutors in Louisiana say that in complete, Li activated no less than 40 numbers on his iPhone AAPL AAPL, +0.39% between July and December, 2018.

Li’s lawyer, Bruce Ashley, mentioned his consumer was a “brilliant and really earnest younger man,” who had good tutorial data, however declined to touch upon the allegations in opposition to him.

Li was initially charged within the rip-off in June 2020, however the case was not too long ago expanded as prosecutors decided that he had allegedly scammed way more victims than initially thought.

In February, prosecutors charged mobile phone firm worker Stephen Daniel Defiore, 36, of Brandon, Fla. for allegedly transferring management of sufferer accounts to Li in alternate for $500 a day. The mobile phone firm wasn’t recognized.

If convicted, Li faces a maximum term of 20 years in jail.

A lawyer for Defiore declined to remark.

 

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