Federal Court Seizes $5.2M in Bitcoin from Hacker Targeting Crypto Execs
A federal judge recently mandated the forfeiture of nearly $5.2 million in Bitcoin and a sports car from Ahmad Wagaafe Hared, a young hacker accused of stealing cryptocurrency from executives in Northern California. The case is unfolding in San Francisco’s federal court due to the regional focus of Hared’s alleged activities.
According to a report from The San Francisco Standard published on 9 September 2023, Ahmad Wagaafe Hared was residing in Tucson, Arizona, as a teenager in 2016 when he allegedly began collaborating with two other individuals to steal cryptocurrency. The prosecution claims that Hared specifically targeted victims in Northern California, a region known for its concentration of cryptocurrency startups.
According to prosecutors, Hared and his associates initially gathered personal contact details of crypto executives and investors. They then purportedly contacted mobile service providers, deceiving customer service representatives into believing they were the legitimate owners of the phone numbers they aimed to compromise. This fraudulent activity is commonly referred to as SIM swapping.
Once they gained control over the targeted phone numbers, Hared and his co-conspirators allegedly accessed the victims’ email accounts and other secure platforms. They used this unauthorized access to infiltrate the victims’ cryptocurrency storage facilities and empty them.
The operation was financially rewarding for Hared and his team. Last week, a federal judge in San Francisco issued a preliminary order allowing the U.S. government to confiscate 119.8 Bitcoin from Hared, valued at approximately $5.2 million. In addition, Hared is required to surrender 93,420 Stellar (XLM) tokens, worth around $11,770, and a 2017 BMW i8, estimated to fetch about $60,000 in the used car market.
Apparently, Hared entered a plea agreement in 2019, although the details remain confidential as many documents related to the case are still under seal. Initially, he faced multiple charges, including computer-related fraud, identity theft, and extortion. Neither Hared’s legal representation nor the U.S. Attorney’s Office have commented on the case.
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