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FTX’s stolen $400M – Here’s what we know so far

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The DOJ has shared the latest update on the November 2022 attack that cost FTX $400M

FTX hack 2022

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  • Three Americans identified as the culprits behind a SIM-swapping hacking operation
  • Investigative evidence ties their activities to the FTX hack of November 2022

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced charges against three individuals implicated in a sophisticated SIM-swap attack. The charges state that the group stole over $400 million from an unnamed company’s accounts, widely believed to be FTX.

Masterminds behind the operation

Robert Powell, also known by online aliases “R,” “R$,” and “ElSwapo1,” led a group named the “Powell SIM Swapping Crew.” Authorities allege he worked with Carter Rohn of Indiana, known as “Carti” and “Punslayer,” and Emily Hernandez of Colorado, known as “Em,” to illegally access victims’ devices. They reportedly carried out fraudulent SIM swap attacks from March 2021 to April 2023.

They collected the personal data of about 50 victims. The trio then used this information to convince cell phone providers to port the victims’ phone numbers to a dummy phone in their possession.  In doing so, they could intercept text messages. This included multi-factor authentication codes, allowing them to break into the victims’ financial accounts and crypto-wallets.

November 2022’s attack on FTX

Pages 7 and 8 of the indictment expanded upon the attack on 11 and 12 November 2022. During the incident, Hernandez allegedly impersonated Victim Company-1’s employee at a mobile service store in Texas. This act facilitated Powell’s unauthorized access to the company’s AT&T account. The breach enabled them to access and illicitly transfer virtual currency from the company’s crypto-wallets.

FTX hack linked to sim swapping

Source: CourtListener

The attack coincided with a critical period for FTX which began losing crypto-assets from its wallets as the company was on the brink of bankruptcy. Elliptic, a blockchain analytics company, assessed the loss at $477 million. This figure, unmatched by any other crypto-thefts on those dates, strongly suggests that FTX is the company referred to as “Victim Company-1” in the indictment. 

Moreover, according to Elliptic, after months of inactivity, FTX’s stolen crypto-assets worth tens of millions of dollars have been moving again.

Dissociation and charges: Aftermath

Sam Bankman-Fried, who is facing decades in prison after being convicted of fraud late last year, distanced himself from the hack. He had previously speculated that it could have been an inside job. This development dispels these speculations, however.

Powell, Rohn, and Hernandez have been charged with wire fraud conspiracy and identity theft.


Kamina is a content writer at AMBCrypto. With a Journalism degree and MBA in International Business, she expertly navigates blockchain, crypto, and AI, melding her academic insights with future-forward interests to create compelling narratives that educate and inspire in the evolving digital landscape.
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