Last week, a Florida man found himself behind bars, facing the consequences of his involvement in a high-stakes hacking operation that culminated in the theft of approximately $1 million in cryptocurrency.
Jordan Dave Persad, a 20-year-old resident of Orlando, was convicted of orchestrating a cyberattack campaign that involved infiltrating victims’ email accounts and commandeering their phone numbers, thereby gaining illicit access to their cryptocurrency holdings. This legal development was disclosed by the United States Department of Justice.
The modus operandi employed by Persad and his partners-in-crime was a technique known as SIM swapping, whereby they would manipulate mobile carrier representatives into transferring the targeted individuals’ phone numbers to SIM cards within their control. With control over the phone numbers, the attackers typically initiated password resets and wrested control over the victims’ online accounts.
The criminal spree, which took place between March 2021 and September 2022, victimized dozens of individuals, resulting in the theft of an estimated $1 million worth of cryptocurrency from their digital wallets. In the aftermath of these heists, the ill-gotten gains were divvied up among the perpetrators, with Persad laying claim to roughly $475,000 of the stolen assets, as confirmed by the Department of Justice.
Court records detailed that some of the embezzled funds were eventually recouped by law enforcement officials when a search warrant was executed at Persad’s residence in Orlando.
Acknowledging his complicity in the hacking conspiracy, Persad was subsequently sentenced to a 30-month prison term, followed by a three-year period of supervised release. Additionally, he was ordered to reimburse victims a sum of $945,833.
This case is only an example of a broader trend in the realm of cybercrime, where criminals exploit SIM swapping to seize control of digital assets, illustrating the gravity of the issue. It follows similar incidents involving cybercriminals such as British national Joseph James O’Connor, who was sentenced in the US for engaging in SIM swapping to purloin cryptocurrency, and Amir Hossein Golshan from Los Angeles, who pleaded guilty to using SIM swapping to commit various cybercrimes, resulting in losses of approximately $740,000.