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The US Justice Department has indicted a Singaporean man for impersonating various business personalities, faking the identity of video game developers and exploiting Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services (AWS) in order to mine cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin(BTC)trade, Litecoin (LTC)trade and Ethereum (ETH)trade.
It is not the first time that crypto fraudsters have been impersonating various personalities and celebrities to manipulate innocent investors. However, it is the first of its kind case in which the scammer used the compromised identities to receive a massive amount of virtual computational power through cloud services such as AWS and Google Cloud, and thus mine cryptocurrency.
The man, Ho Jun Jia (AKA Matthew Ho), was accused of stealing and faking the identities of game developers to access their cloud computing systems and utilize that virtual computing power to mine cryptocurrencies. The defendant, Ho Jun Jia is a resident and citizen of Singapore.
According to the legal documents, he has been indicted in the US for eight counts of wire fraud, four counts of access device fraud, and two counts of aggravated identity theft. If handed over to the jurisdiction of the U.S., he could face charges in the Seattle US Western District court.
As elaborated in the indictment, Ho operated large scale cryptocurrency mining operations from October 2017 to February 2018 through fraud and identity theft. He stole personal and financial information of individual victims and used this information along with the social engineering techniques to open accounts fraudulently, and to obtain access to cloud computing services. He later used these frequently created cloud services accounts and the massive amount of computing power to mine himself several different virtual currencies, primarily Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum.
The stolen accounts were from LA-based game developers and eSports organizers. He is accused of using these identities and web credentials of the developers to receive an additional privilege for Amazon and Google cloud services. Singaporean police believes that Ho successfully secured millions of dollars of worth cloud computing power to mine cryptocurrencies.
“In the few months his scheme remained active, Ho consumed more than $5 million in unpaid cloud computing services with his mining operation and, for a brief period, was one of Amazon Web Services (AWS) largest consumers of data usage by volume,” prosecutors said. “Some of the bills were paid by the California game developer’s financial staff before the fraud was detected.”
The prosecutors further said that he also impersonated the identity of a man in Texas and a business owner from India to hire additional virtual machines on AWS and Google cloud.