Florida Man Sentenced To 18 Months For Theft Of Over $20 Million In SIM Swap Scheme | USAO-SDNY


Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that NICHOLAS TRUGLIA was sentenced today to 18 months in prison for his participation in the theft of over $20 million worth of cryptocurrency during a SIM swap attack of a victim (the “Victim”) and was further ordered to pay $20,379,007 in restitution to the Victim within 60 days.  TRUGLIA was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Nicholas Truglia and his associates stole a staggering amount of cryptocurrency from the victim through a complex SIM swap scheme.  Nevertheless, today’s sentencing goes to show that no matter how sophisticated the crime is, this Office will continue to successfully prosecute those who choose to defraud others.”

According to Count One of the Indictment, to which TRUGLIA pled guilty, and other statements and submissions made in Court:   

In or around January 2018, TRUGLIA participated in a scheme to conduct a cyber intrusion of online accounts of the Victim in order to steal cryptocurrency.  During the course of the scheme, participants in the scheme (the “Scheme Participants”) gained unauthorized access to online accounts of the Victim through a cyber intrusion technique referred to as “SIM swapping.”  During a SIM swap attack, cyber threat actors gain control of a victim’s mobile phone number by linking that number to a subscriber identity module (“SIM”) card controlled by the threat actors, resulting in the victim’s calls and messages being routed to a device controlled by the threat actors.  The threat actors then use control of the victim’s mobile phone number to obtain unauthorized access to accounts held by the victim that are registered to the mobile phone number.

The Scheme Participants successfully gained unauthorized access to online accounts of the Victim via a SIM swap of the Victim’s mobile phone number (the “SIM Swap”).  The Scheme Participants then used those online accounts to gain access to a cryptocurrency wallet of the Victim containing over $20 million worth of the Victim’s cryptocurrency.  One of the Scheme Participants contacted TRUGLIA and added him to an online call with other Scheme Participants, during which TRUGLIA learned of the SIM Swap and agreed to receive cryptocurrency fraudulently diverted from the Victim’s cryptocurrency wallet into an online account held by TRUGLIA (the “Truglia Account”).  Over the next few hours, TRUGLIA made the Truglia Account available to other Scheme Participants to receive the Victim’s stolen cryptocurrency, where it was converted into Bitcoin.  Scheme Participants transferred much of this Bitcoin to other accounts controlled by them and left a portion of the criminal proceeds for TRUGLIA.  In total, during the SIM Swap, Scheme Participants stole over $20 million worth of the Victim’s cryptocurrency, with the defendant keeping at least approximately $673,000 worth of the stolen funds. 

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In addition to his prison term, TRUGLIA, 25, of Ocoee, Florida, was sentenced to three years of supervised release.  In addition to his restitution obligation of $20,379,007, TRUGLIA was further ordered to forfeit $983,010.72.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of Special Agents of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Las Vegas Field Office.

The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Timothy V. Capozzi is in charge of the prosecution.

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