Round Rock man steals $600K in cryptocurrency through SIM swapping scheme

ROUND ROCK, Texas — A Round Rock man was sentenced to two years in prison for stealing $600,000 worth of cryptocurrency through a SIM card swapping scheme.

According to court documents, investigators say 22-year-old Daniel Akira Mills stole the cryptocurrency from dozens of victims across the country. The incidents happened from August 2019 to February 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release on Friday.

Mills gained control of victims’ phones by linking their number to a new SIM card. That connection rerouted all calls and texts.

Once Mills saw the victim’s phone number, he would use it to get access to victims’ accounts.

Among other things, scheme participants posted unauthorized messages on their victims’ social media accounts and posted private photographs stolen from the accounts of celebrities, the Justice Department said.

“We now run much of our lives through smartphones,” said U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza for the Western District of Texas. “From social media to managing our finances, they have become essential tools. This can be very helpful, but also comes with many risks. 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.”

In addition to his prison sentence, Mills must pay $530,000 in restitution.

The U.S. Secret Service was involved in the investigation into the case.

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