A young Manhattan man allegedly stole $1million from a Silicon Valley executive by hacking into his phone and stealing his cryptocurrency.
Nicholas Truglia, 27, faces 21 felony counts after he allegedly went on a hacking spree that targeted six victims.
Authorities said Truglia successfully hacked into six victims’ phones, but was only able to steal money from Robert Ross.
Nicholas Truglia, 21, (pictured holding champagne bottle) faces 21 felony counts after he allegedly hacked the phones of six Silicon Valley executives, stealing $1million from one victim
Truglia allegedly stole $1million from San Francisco executive Robert Ross, who lost his entire life savings and his daughters’ college funds
Truglia allegedly stole $500,000 each from Ross’ Coinbase and Gemini accounts on October 26.
Coinbase and Gemini are digital currency companies that broker exchanges of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin and Ethereum.
The money was Ross’ two daughters’ college funds and his entire life savings, Santa Clara Deputy District Attorney Erin West told the New York Post.
Authorities said Truglia managed to steal the money via SIM swap fraud, a new kind of identity theft that is becoming increasingly common.
Authorities said Truglia managed to steal the money via SIM swap fraud, a new kind of identity theft that is becoming increasingly common
With a SIM swap fraud, a scammer calls their intended target’s cell phone provider and claims that their SIM card has been lost or damaged.
Truglia’s charges include grand theft, altering or damaging computer data with the intent to defraud, and using personal information without authorization
They ask the customer service representative to activate a new SIM card or number.
The customer service representative will then ask a number of security questions, but the scammer has likely already accumulated this information via social media or even phishing emails.
After they get access into the phone, the scammers are then able to get into their victims’ bank accounts.
‘You’re sitting in your home, your phone is in front of you, and you suddenly become aware there is no service because the bad guy has taken control of your phone number,’ West said.
‘It’s a new way of doing an old crime. It’s a pervasive problem, and it involves millions of dollars.’
After he allegedly hacked Ross, Truglia moved the $1million into his own bank account.
Authorities said Truglia also targeted tech CEO Saswata Basu, hedge fund manager Myles Danielsen, startup co-founder Gabrielle Katsnelson, and the vice president of a NY investment company.
Authorities said Truglia successfully hacked into six victims’ phones, including start-up co-founder Gabrielle Katsnelson (left ) and 0Chain founder Saswata Basu (right)
Truglia was arrested at his luxury Manhattan apartment by the Santa Clara REACT task force, which investigates SIM swap fraud across the country, on November 14.
Investigators recovered a ‘hardware wallet, a device almost like a thumb drive’ as well as $300,000 in stolen funds, according to West.
Truglia’s charges include grand theft, altering or damaging computer data with the intent to defraud, and using personal information without authorization.
He will be extradited to Santa Clara, California to face the charges.
‘The takeaway here to the hackers is, we don’t care where you’re located, we are a task force based in Silicon Valley and our reach is nationwide,’ said West.
Truglia’s arrest comes just two months after he accused four friends of trying to steal a thumb drive he said was linked to $1.2million in bitcoin.
Truglia was arrested at his luxury Manhattan apartment (pictured) by the Santa Clara REACT task force, which investigate SIM swap fraud across the country, on November 14
He claimed that Stephen Orso, 25, Steven Dorn, 29, Chris David, 25, and David Leica, 19, had escorted him home after a night of drinking.
Truglia said Orso then allegedly held his hand underwater in the bathtub and demanded he ‘provide him login information for his cryptocurrency accounts’, according to the New York Post.
He alleged that Orso also punched him in the stomach and threw hot wax on him before the boys stole a laptop, two mobile phones, and the thumb drive with the cryptocurrency information.
Stacey Richman, the attorney representing Truglia’s friends, said he made up the story to cover up his own stealing.
Richman said she has since provided audio to the District’s Attorney’s Office in which Truglia admits the allegations are false.