March 4, 2024
SIM Card Swapping Fraudsters Sentenced in San Antonio
SIM Card Swapping Fraudsters Sentenced in San AntonioSAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio man and woman were sentenced Wednesday in a federal...

SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio man and woman were sentenced Wednesday in a federal court in San Antonio for their roles in a SIM card swapping fraud scheme.

According to court documents, Zena Elisa Dounson, 24, and Andrew Percy Trujillo, 22, conspired to access and transfer assets from victims’ cryptocurrency accounts via SIM swapping.  A mobile phone uses a SIM card to store information that identifies and authenticates the subscriber to that cellular phone.  A SIM swapping scheme allows a person to use other phones or devices as though they were the authorized subscriber.  In November 2021, Dounson, an employee at the AT&T store at Ingram Park Mall, assisted Trujillo in adding himself as an authorized user to the accounts of multiple victims.  Using his access as an apparent authorized user, Trujillo would add multiple devices to the accounts. Dounson would then transfer the victims’ SIM card credentials to the fraudulent SIM cards in Trujillo’s phones.  When the victims’ original devices were locked due to suspected fraud, Trujillo accessed and transferred at least $250,000 worth of cryptocurrency from the victims’ investment accounts to his own account.  Both defendants pleaded guilty in August 2022 to one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse and wire fraud.

At the hearing, Trujillo was sentenced to 33 months in prison plus three years of supervised release.  Additionally, he was ordered to pay approximately $282,000 in restitution.  Dounson received a split sentence of two months in prison and five years of probation.  She was also ordered to pay $282,000 in restitution.

“SIM Swapping is a rapidly growing type of fraud scheme that everyone should be aware of,” said U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza of the Western District of Texas.  “It’s particularly dangerous because it abuses access to two-factor authentication systems which are intended to provide additional security.  Anyone who uses two-factor authentication should be mindful that it is not foolproof, and to still be on the lookout for any suspicious activity involving their phones.”

“The defendants in this case callously devised a scheme to transfer more than $250,000 of cryptocurrency from multiple victims for their own personal gain,” said Special Agent in Charge Oliver E. Rich Jr. of the FBI San Antonio Division.  “This sentencing brings a measure of justice to victims and holds the defendants accountable for their actions.”

The FBI investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Galdo and Justin Chung prosecuted the case.

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Originally published at https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices/sanantonio/news/sim-card-swapping-fraudsters-sentenced-in-san-antonio

originally published at HUMAN RIGHTS - USA DAILY NEWS 24