US authorities arrest alleged SIM swapper for stealing $1M in crypto

A 19-year-old man has been arrested and formally charged in a New York Supreme Court indictment over SIM-swapping identity and crypto theft.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday that Yousef Selassie, a resident of Brooklyn, allegedly accessed accounts of 75 people across the U.S. this year and stole over $1 million in cryptocurrency via SIM-swapping attacks.

“As alleged, in just 4 months he drained his victims of more than $1 million in cryptocurrency with little more than an iPhone and computer,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.

Authorities executed a search warrant on Selassie’s Brooklyn residence, where they seized “numerous” electronic devices, a handwritten note containing a seed phrase for a cryptocurrency wallet and “multiple” pieces of custom-made jewelry that had been purchased with bitcoin.

Vance said this is the “third major SIM-swapping case” his office has brought in recent months.

Last month, Dawson Bakies pleaded guilty, with a promised sentence of 2-to-6 years in prison, for stealing identities and funds of more than 50 victims across the U.S. in a SIM-swapping scheme. In July, Richard Li was charged with a SIM-swapping scheme that resulted in the theft of more than $3,000.

Vance urged the public to report such cases to help authorities put SIM swappers “out of business.”