108 years of prison time for 20 years old who hacked mobile phones & stole $2 million USD

Ireland’s justice agencies are preparing a case against Conor Freeman, a 20-year-old man accused of participating in a major criminal operation responsible for multiple Bitcoin attacks. Freeman was arrested at his home at Glenageary Court, Dun Laoghaire, after U.S. authorities issued an arrest warrant against him.

The prosecution contends that Freeman was a member of “The Community”, a group of malicious hackers who used a technique known as “SIM swap” to steal virtual assets (mainly Bitcoin). This technique involves gaining control of a SIM card by tricking mobile phone companies in order to access the victim’s email, allowing cryptocurrency addresses to be extracted.

The group allegedly stole about $2,180,000 in Bitcoin and other virtual assets between February and May 2018. Conor Freeman is the only member of the hacking group that does not reside in the U.S. His identity was discovered after a member of “The Community” was arrested in May 2018. The individual decided to cooperate in the investigation, which led to the identification and arrest of other members.

Authorities presented evidence that includes online chats in which members of the cybercriminal group point to the “Conor” user as a critical part of planning and deploying these attacks. Finally, the police were able to link the IP addresses used by “Conor” with those used by Freeman from their Internet and mobile phone providers in Ireland.

A grand jury in the Eastern District of Michigan, USA, charged Freeman and five of his accomplices on three different charges:

  • Conspiracy to commit electronic fraud
  • Collaboration in electronic fraud
  • Identity theft

In case of being found guilty of all charges against him, Freeman would face a sentence of up to 108 years in prison. The trial was adjourned, as the authorities requested more time to present all the evidence against the accused: “We are waiting for progress on that front before a decision on the substantive case is made before the court,” said Siobhan Chulachain, representing the Minister of Justice.

The court granted the six-week adjournment, which means that the next court appearance for Conor Freeman will be until June 22. An interesting fact of the case, cybersecurity experts point out, is that the hacker group managed to steal more than 2 million dollars from just four users, so it is speculated that the victims could be relevant figures in the cryptocurrency community.