Portland man sentenced to 6 years in federal prison for stealing $4M in crypto

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A 22-year-old Portland man was sentenced to six years in federal prison Tuesday after stealing millions of dollars in cryptocurrency through SIM cards.

Daniel James Junk is guilty of “using a SIM swap scam technique that takes over victims’ cellular phone accounts to access sensitive personal information,” the Oregon District Attorney’s Office said.

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Through this technique, incoming calls and text messages are routed to another phone so that the scammer can gain access to online accounts while bypassing two-factor authentication. Junk was found to be a part of a “SIM-swapping community” in which he and other scammers would work together to breach databases, importing phone numbers, and even stealing cell phones directly.

When the FBI used a search warrant to search Junk’s apartment on March 3, 2022, investigators found “a computer with an active browser showing that Junk was attempting to illegally access accounts in other people’s names when the agents arrived at his residence.”

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During the search, officials seized more than 71 bitcoin, which was worth approximately $3 million on the day of the search. Two months later, Junk surrendered another 33 bitcoin worth $1 million.

Junk pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud on April 20, 2023, but in January, while awaiting sentencing, police found Junk had still been in possession of multiple victim target lists, including about 25,000 compromised email addresses. His release was promptly revoked and he was ordered into custody.

Following his prison sentence, Junk will serve three years’ supervised release. He must also pay $3 million in restitution to his victims.

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