Crime

21-year old sentenced for 10 years in prison for SIM swapping thefts amounting to $7.5 million

April 23, 2019, 5:44AM EDT

A 21-year old was sentenced last week to 10 years in prison for stealing more than $7.5 million, the Santa Clara County’s District Attorney’s Office announced. At least 40 people fell victim to Joel Ortiz who targeted cryptocurrency traders. It took him minutes to steal over $5.2 million from a cryptocurrency entrepreneur from Cupertino, California.

He spent what he stole “lavishly,” the court heard, for instance on designer clothes, $10,000 nights at Los Angeles clubs, and hiring a helicopter. $400,000 of Ortiz’s loot was seized following his arrest.  “These are not Robin Hoods,” said prosecutor Erin West. “These are crooks who use a computer instead of a gun. They are not just stealing some ethereal, experimental currency. They are stealing college funds, home mortgages, people’s financial lives.”

Ortiz is one of five people arrested by the REACT task force in association to mobile phone scams. According to the announcement, Ortiz pleaded no contest to the felony theft charges in January.

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