BOSTON (WWLP) – A federal court judge in Boston sentenced two men involved in a scheme to take over victims’ social media accounts and steal hundreds of thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency from victims nationwide.
Eric Meiggs, 25, of Brockton, Mass. was sentenced to two years and one day in prison and two years of supervised release. Declan Harrington, 22, of Rockport, Mass. was sentenced to two years and seven days in prison and two years of supervised release. Both had pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, four counts of wire fraud, one count of computer fraud and abuse and one count of aggravated identity theft in August 2021. Harrington also pleaded guilty to an additional count of wire fraud.
According to prosecutors, in November 2017, Harrington, Meiggs and others targeted victims who were thought to have large amounts of cryptocurrency and those who had high value or “OG” (slang for “Original Gangster”) social media account names.
Using an illegal practice known as “SIM-swapping,” Harrington, Meiggs and others conspired to hack into and take control of these victims’ online accounts to obtain things of value, including OG social media account names and cryptocurrency. “SIM swapping” attacks involve convincing a victim’s cell phone carrier to reassign the victim’s cell phone number from the SIM card inside the victim’s cell phone to the SIM card inside a cell phone controlled by the cybercriminals. The cybercriminals can then reset the victim’s account log-in credentials and use those credentials to access the victim’s account without authorization, or “hack into” the account.
Harrington, Meiggs, and their co-conspirators targeted at least 10 identified victims around the country and stole (or attempted to steal) more than $530,000 in cryptocurrency from these victims. Meiggs also took control of two victims’ “OG” accounts with social media companies.