Round Rock Man Sentenced for Stealing $600k+ in Crypto Fraud Using SIM Swapping Scheme

Round Rock Man Sentenced for Stealing $600k+ in Crypto Fraud Using SIM Swapping Scheme

In a recent federal court ruling in Austin, a Round Rock man, Daniel Akira Mills, 22, has been sentenced to 24 months in prison for his involvement in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Court documents reveal that Mills participated in a criminal wire fraud conspiracy from August 2019 to February 2021. The conspiracy utilized SIM swaps to defraud victims of hundreds of thousands of dollars in property. SIM swapping is a cyber intrusion technique where threat actors gain control of a victim’s mobile phone number by linking it to a subscriber identity module (SIM) card controlled by the attackers. This allows them to reroute calls and messages to a device under their control and gain unauthorized access to the victim’s online accounts.

A SIM swap is when cybercriminals trick a cellular service provider into switching a victim’s service to a SIM card that they control — essentially hijacking the victim’s phone number. The main aim of SIM swapping is usually to exploit two-factor authentication to gain fraudulent access to bank accounts.

As part of the scheme, participants engaged in unauthorized activities such as posting messages on victims’ social media accounts and sharing private photographs stolen from celebrities’ accounts. The conspirators also managed to steal over $600,000 in cryptocurrency from dozens of victims across the nation.

The federal court not only sentenced Mills to 24 months in prison but also ordered him to pay more than $530,000 in restitution to the victims.

U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza for the Western District of Texas commented on the case, emphasizing the increasing risks associated with the reliance on smartphones. He stated, “By ‘SIM swapping,’ or stealing the phone numbers of victims to assume their identities, Mills and his cohorts defrauded innocent members of society and caused great harm. My office will not hesitate to hold fraudsters like Mills accountable for their irresponsible destructive actions.”

The investigation into the case was conducted by the U.S. Secret Service and the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office’s REACT Task Force.