United States Attorney Damian Williams announced Thursday that Nicholas Truglia, a 25-year-old hacker, has been sentenced to prison for 18 months. Truglia was sentenced to jail by United States Federal Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein on the charge of participating in a theft scheme that saw over $20 million worth of cryptocurrency stolen during a SIM swap raid on a victim.
In January 2018, Nicholas Truglia took part in a malicious cyber plan attack to hack into a victim’s account and steal cryptocurrencies from the victim’s online stores. The victim was the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Transform Group, Michael Terpin. Using a cyber invasion strategy known as SIM swapping, other players in the scheme were able to get illegal access to the victim’s online stores.
The attack was successful, and the illegal participants gained illicit access to the victim’s online accounts using the SIM swap strategy, which also used the victim’s mobile number.
In a SIM swap raid, cyber attackers hijack a victim’s phone number by connecting the victim’s number to a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card monitored by the assailants. The result of the SIM swap will enable the assailants to gain access to all calls and texts through another device.
In the Truglia theft case, the threat actors took over the victim’s mobile phone number and used it to get unauthorized access to the victim’s accounts registered with the phone number. The attackers then accessed the victim’s crypto wallet, which held over $20 million in digital assets.
Subsequently, Truglia was contacted by a member of the theft scheme and then invited to join an online conference call with other members. During the call, Truglia was briefed about the SIM Swap and consented to accept cryptocurrency illegally transferred from the victim’s crypto wallet into one of his online accounts.
Truglia then made the account accessible to the theft scheme assailants after they converted the victim’s stolen funds to Bitcoin. The assailants transported most of the Bitcoin to other accounts governed by them, leaving a fraction of the fraudulent funds to Truglia.
Overall, the amount stolen by the assailants surmounted to over $20 million, while $673,000 was allotted to Truglia.
Although Truglia was sentenced to 18 months in prison, he was also ordered to pay restitution of $20,379,007 and an additional $983,010.72. Currently, Truglia has completed the first 12 months of his mandate.
He was previously supposed to receive a sentence of 51 to 63 months. He promised to pay over $20 million in restitution after it was revealed during the sentencing that he owned assets worth $53 million. The assets encompassed cryptocurrency, jewelry, and art.
Truglia has previously been arrested for other crypto theft schemes; however, during the court hearing, Truglia expressed his regret to the victim in the case and his resolve to rebuild his life. He said it was “shameful” that he stole from an individual online because he would never do it in person.