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US Officials allege student defrauded Apple as part of SIM swap attack

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Richard Yuan Li, a student at the University of California-San Diego, is charged with plotting to commit felony wire fraud in regards to the scheme, which affected 19 victims and successfully robbed a “significant portion” of crypto from one, a New Orleans doctor, as per the allegations.

Richard Yuan Li, a student at the University of California-San Diego, is charged with plotting to commit felony wire fraud in regards to the scheme, which affected 19 victims and successfully robbed a “significant portion” of crypto from one, a New Orleans doctor, as per the allegations.

The DOJ pressed charges against Li in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

The amount of cryptocurrency Li and conspirators proposedly stole from the unnamed doctor is unknown. As per case filings, the victim had accounts with Binance, Bittrex, Coinbase, Gemini, and Poloniex, among others. At one point, a plotter tried to extort the victim for 100 bitcoin.

However, the way the alleged SIM swap went down is quite evident. According to prosecutors, Li and his collaborator deceived an Apple representative into sending them an iPhone 8, “arranged for victims’ telephone numbers to be swapped” to the iPhone, and then dodged the security measures of their target in order to access the files.

It is claimed by prosecutors that Li participated in at least 28 SIM swaps between the months of October and December 2018. They further declare that the actions are equivalent to federal crimes as the SIM swaps transmitted signals across state lines and are hence, subject to the interstate commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Upon conviction, Li could face a five-year sentence and a $250,000 penalty.