DOJ alleges Moroccan man spoofed OpenSea, stole BAYC NFT
Apart from the NFTs, Soufiane Oulahyane is also accused of stealing ETH
sdx15/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks
The Department of Justice on Monday unsealed charges against a Moroccan national accused of impersonating OpenSea marketplace functions in order to make off with cryptocurrencies and NFTs — including a Bored Ape.
Prosecutors accused Soufiane Oulahyane, 25, of defrauding a Manhattan resident and others of approximately $450,000 of digital assets in September 2021.
The DOJ alleges Oulahyane “spoofed” OpenSea, creating a site that mimicked the real OpenSea to trick customers into logging in and swiping their OpenSea credentials in the process. He allegedly bought “paid advertisements on a popular search engine” to boost the fake page.
“Oulahyane is alleged to have operated a spoof website to gain unauthorized access to victims’ cryptocurrency wallets to steal their cryptocurrency and NFTs,” FBI Acting Assistant Director in Charge Christie Curtis said.
The DOJ charged Oulahyane with wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, affecting transactions “with an unauthorized device” and use of an unauthorized device.
Wire fraud alone carries a maximum sentence of 20 years, while using an unauthorized device carries a possible 10-year sentence, and impacting transactions carries up to 15 years. Oulahyane also faces a potential two-year sentence for identity theft. He’s in Moroccan custody, according to officials.
According to the unsealed charges, Oulahyane stole a seed phrase from a New York-based victim’s wallet after the victim accidentally landed on the fake OpenSea login page — designed by Oulahyane — and not the actual marketplace. From there, Oulahyane was able to steal 39 NFTs, including their Bored Ape.
Prosecutors for the Southern District of New York said they have jurisdiction over the case because of the location of the victims — and have brought the charges forward.
Apart from NFTs, Oulahyane is accused of stealing ether (ETH).
Both the DOJ’s press release and indictment included pictures of allegedly stolen NFTs, ranging from the BAYC to a Bored Ape Kennel Club NFT.
Last year, French authorities charged five people with stealing Bored Ape NFTs after ZachXBT posted his findings on Twitter.
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