U.S. authorities have indicted a man accused of stealing $450,000 worth of cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement Monday.
The indictment, issued by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, alleges Soufiane Oulahyane, a Moroccan national, operated a look-alike website of popular NFT marketplace OpenSea to obtain unauthorized access to digital assets and NFTs in a cybercrime technique known as “spoofing.”
Oulahyane faces multiple counts of wire fraud, the use of an unauthorized access device for the alleged crime and aggravated identity theft, which occurred in September 2021.
“Oulahyane adapted [an] old tool for use in a new and developing arena – the crypto space,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement.
The alleged scammer used his fake OpenSea site to lure a Manhattan NFT owner to register with it and hand over the seed phrase to his digital wallet, which Oulahyane then used to transfer cryptocurrency and a number of NFTs to his control and sell them. Those NFTs included one from the “Bored Ape Yacht Club” series worth roughly $92,000 at publication time.
Oulahyane is now in custody in Morocco. He could face up to 47 years in prison if found guilty of the charges.