Unraveling the $400 Million FTX Heist: A Detailed Breakdown

Unraveling the $400 Million FTX Heist A Detailed Breakdown

In a recent announcement, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) brought charges against three individuals to light. These charges are linked to an advanced SIM-swap scheme, resulting in over $400 million theft. This sum was siphoned off from a company’s accounts, which, while not explicitly named, is strongly believed to be FTX, a well-known cryptocurrency exchange.

The Brains Behind the Operation

At the heart of this elaborate scheme was Robert Powell, who operated under various online pseudonyms such as “R,” “R$,” and “ElSwapo1.” Powell led a group known as the “Powell SIM Swapping Crew.” In this complex operation, Powell was not alone; he collaborated with two accomplices: Carter Rohn from Indiana, who went by “Carti” and “Punslayer,” and Emily Hernandez from Colorado, familiarly known as “Em.” The trio’s activity spanned from March 2021 to April 2023, during which they engaged in fraudulent SIM swap attacks.

The method involved collecting the personal details of around 50 victims. Armed with this information, the group managed to deceive cellular service providers. They convinced these providers to transfer the victims’ phone numbers to a dummy phone under their control. Once this was achieved, the group could intercept text messages, including those containing multi-factor authentication codes. This breach allowed them to infiltrate and extract funds from the victims’ financial accounts and crypto-wallets.

The November 2022 FTX Incident

The indictment sheds more light, particularly on pages 7 and 8, about the events that unfolded on November 11 and 12, 2022. During this time, Hernandez took the bold step of impersonating an employee of “Victim Company-1” at a mobile service store in Texas. This daring act paved the way for Powell to gain unauthorized access to the company’s AT&T account. Consequently, this breach led to their ability to transfer virtual currency unlawfully from the company’s crypto-wallets.

The timing of this attack was especially pivotal. It aligned with a critical moment for FTX, as the company witnessed a massive drain of crypto-assets from its wallets amidst looming bankruptcy threats. Elliptic, a blockchain analytics firm, estimated the loss at a staggering $477 million. This amount, the highest compared to other crypto-thefts during the same period, strongly points towards FTX being the unnamed “Victim Company-1” mentioned in the indictment.

Further compounding the intrigue, Elliptic reported that after a period of dormancy, a significant portion of FTX’s stolen crypto-assets, worth tens of millions of dollars, have circulated once again. This revelation adds another layer of complexity to an already convoluted case, underscoring the vast and often murky world of cryptocurrency and the high-stakes crimes that operate within it.

Source: https://ambcrypto.com/bitcoin-all-about-the-state-of-etfs-trader-sentiments-and-static-prices/