BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Maryland man was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury on identity theft and wire fraud charges.
Jordan K. Milleson, 21, of Timonium, and Kyell A. Bryan, 19, of Kingston, Pennsylvania allegedly concocted a scheme to steal digital currency and social media accounts through phishing and “sim-swapping.”
The superseding indictment alleges that Milleson, Bryan, and others used electronic account credentials stolen from employees and affiliates of wireless providers to access those companies’ computer networks without authorization.
After obtaining access to these networks, the defendants allegedly took over individual victims’ wireless accounts through “SIM swapping,” whereby customers’ mobile numbers, which are linked to unique subscriber identity modules (“SIM”), were instead linked to a SIM installed in a device controlled by the defendants or their co-conspirators.
Once the defendants gained control over the victims’ mobile phone numbers, they were often able to also gain unauthorized access to victims’ other electronic accounts, including e-mail, social media, and cryptocurrency accounts. The defendants would frequently change the passwords to keep the victims from accessing their own accounts.
As a result of these activities, Milleson allegedly took over the social media accounts of two victims, one of whom had thousands of followers and had monetized their account through sponsored links, product placements, and product reviews.
The superseding indictment alleges that Milleson and Bryan, after conducting a successful SIM swap, were also able to steal more than $16,000 from the digital currency account of another victim after obtaining unauthorized access to that victim’s user accounts.
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison for each count of wire fraud and wire fraud conspiracy; a maximum of 5 years in federal prison for each count of unauthorized access of a protected computer in furtherance of fraud; and a mandatory two years in prison, consecutive to any other sentence imposed, for each count of aggravated identity theft.