Richard Yuan Li, 20, of California, was accused of committing electronic fraud for his role in SIM card exchange attacks targeting at least 20 people, as well as attempting extortion of a doctor and cryptomoney investor known as „Investor A“.
Li is believed to have collaborated with others from January 2018 to February 2019 to defraud numerous victims through SIM exchange attacks, and some of the co-conspirators remain unknown to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
SIM exchanges are made by diverting the victim’s SIM to a phone in the possession of the attackers, allowing them to access personal information and accounts, such as emails, bank accounts and crypto wallets.
Teenage cryptosnatcher allegedly threatened the life of his 16-year-old accomplice
History of the same crime
The lawsuit claims that Li first participated in a scheme to defraud Apple Inc. in January 2018. After convincing Apple’s customer service staff that they had not obtained an iPhone 8 purchased from the company, Lie and his co-conspirators were able to obtain possession of a second device.
On November 10th, victim A’s phone number was changed to a SIM card contained in the fraudulently obtained iPhone 8, which Li operated from her bedroom in San Diego.
Crypto currency investor sues New York teenager for $71.4 million for SIM exchange.
Criminals are asking for 100 BTC
Li and his co-conspirators managed to hack into victim A’s email, before accessing several of the doctor’s accounts with various crypto-currency exchanges.
After stealing a significant number of crypts from Victim A, the group called the doctor to demand a ransom of 100 Bitcoins (BTC) to prevent private information from being leaked and supposedly regain control of their crypt-currency accounts.
Between October 2018 and December 2018, Li participated in 28 SIM exchange attacks that targeted at least 19 other victims.
If convicted, Li will face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.