How a college student duped victims to make more cryptocurrencies

  • Li has been accused of operating a SIM Swap scam
  • Li has hacked the cell phone accounts of at least 40 people 
  • Li demanded an additional $640,000 worth of bitcoin from the doctor victim

In one of its very different types of crime, a 21-year-old student Richard Yuan Li from the University of California San Diego has hacked the cell phone accounts of at least 40 people to fiddle with their cryptocurrency wallets, said the prosecutors. 

Li has been accused of operating a SIM Swap scam. He did it from his dorm room at Argo Hall. There is a chip inside the phone which is known as a SIM card or subscriber identity module which connects a phone with its number and account. 

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As per the prosecutors, Li along with the employee of the cell phone company acted in this conspiracy together. They have hacked the Victims’ SIMs and Cell phone accounts and transferred them to a stolen iPhone which he had. 

After gaining access to the victims’ accounts, Li and other perpetrators used the phone’s two-factor authentication credentials to reset passwords and gain access to the victims’ banks accounts, emails, and cryptocurrency wallets. 

As per the prosecutor’s statement, in the New Orleans doctor’s cryptocurrency wallet, Li has stolen a significant amount. He tried to blackmail him to hand over more than $640,000 worth of Bitcoin by threatening to share nude pictures taken from his email with people he knew. 

According to the prosecutors from Louisiana, Li had activated at least 40 numbers on his iPhone AAPL, AAPL, -0.96% between July and December 2018. The Lawyer of Li,  Bruce Ashley mentions that Li is a bright student and a very earnest young man. He possesses a good academic record but he did not comment on his crime allegations. 

He was earlier charged in the scam in 2020, but the case was recently expanded as prosecutors believed that he had scammed more victims than initially thought. The cell phone company employee has also been booked for his crime. He was initially charged in February. The perpetrator who was charged was named Stephen Daniel Defiore. He is 36-years-old and lives in Brandon, Fla.

He was charged for transferring the control of victim accounts to Li in exchange for $500 per day. If Li is convicted, he will get a sentence for a period of 20 years in prison. 


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