Crowd Machine Crypto Hackers Who Stole $14 Million Get Arrested for Theft in Oklahoma
Two Arrested in Suspected $14 Million Crypto Theft
This week, two men were arrested in Oklahoma for allegedly stealing $14 million from a San Jose Crowd Machine.
The alleged thieves, Fletcher Robert Childers and Joseph Harris are originally from Missouri. The theft occurred in California and was reported by the machine’s company to the California computer crimes task force on September 22. Court documents allege that the men accomplished the hack through a SIM swap, which allows the hackers to steal a person’s mobile phone number and identity.
By the time the company reported the hack, the men were already in Oklahoma. As a result, a search warrant was filed in Oklahoma County.
Crowd Machine discussed the theft online, stating that access to its crypto wallet was compromised and that its Crowd Machine tokens were compromised. The platform also reported that most exchanges have suspended trading of its cryptocurrency and recommended that people cease purchasing its tokens until the end of the investigation.
According to Coindesk, the hack has caused one billion tokens to be transferred from the exchange. Further, Coinmarketcap.com reported that, as of Friday, Crowd Machine had a market capitalization of $1.12 million with 470 market tokens in circulation. This is in comparison to BTC, which has $114.8 billion and 17 million, respectively.
The platform’s owner, Craig Sproule, wrote on his blog that the platform will honor the purchase of stolen tokens, by those not involved. In his words,
“The criminal investigation is ongoing so we’re not in a position to comment other than to confirm that two arrests have been made. We’re working closely with law enforcement agencies to help with the ongoing investigation.”
The platform further added, “The victim, who had $14 million stolen by the occupant of the hotel room had also been receiving taunting e-mails from the suspect. The suspect is also actively laundering the cryptocurrency through several different exchanges, some of which are not located in the United States.”
Court documents elaborate that investigators discovered the victim’s cell phone account was transferred to another device in an area near SpringHill Suites Hotel. Secret Service agents, by way of surveillance footage, determined the cell phone was purchased at a nearby Walmart.
Law enforcement, in regard to the search warrants, stated that they “must be served quickly and with as much surprise to the suspect as possible.”