British Hacker Gets 5 Years for Stealing Crypto and Swatting Social Media Influencers in NDCA
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SDNY COURTHOUSE, June 23 – For hacking cryptocurrency in New York, and social media influencers' accounts in Northern California, the UK's Joseph James O'Connor was sentenced to five years in prison on June 23, by U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Jed S. Rakoff. Inner City Press was there. Thread:
OK- now at sentencing of JOSEPH JAMES O’CONNOR, a/k/a #PlugwalkJoe, for conspiracy to commit computer hacking & a SIM swapping scheme, theft of approximately $784,000 worth of cryptocurrency.
O'Connor is brought in by US Marshals, wearing the beige prison uniform of MDC Brooklyn. There is a second defense lawyer who may theoretically replace the first: Curcio hearing to begin
Judge Rakoff's courtroom is nearly full - unlike for money laudering sentencing Inner City Press covered here earlier today
DOJ says the 2019 theft, which they indicted in 2021, was of 770.784869 Bitcoin cash, 6,363.490509 Litecoin, 407.396074 Ethereum, 7.456728 Bitcoin.
It's Dechert that allegedly is conflicted - one of O'Connor's lawyers there, "Gersh," has applied to SDNY Curcio questions are being put by AUSA Olga Zverovich.
O'Connor: I am 24, highest level of education was high school, I have retained (paid) Dechert. Judge Rakoff asks Nicholas Gersh why be applied for SDNY job now. A: It was the right time
O'Connor will be credited for time spent in jail in Spain before extradition. Dechert says he should get time served, including 3 months waiting to be deported.
Dechert: O'Connor is so young. [Inner City Press wonders: who's paying these legal fees?]
AUSA: From overseas, he targeted people in the US. They were not childish crimes. The $800,000 is now worth $1.6 million. He used mixers and tumblers. We have not recovered it
AUSA: There is a victim's impact statement from SDNY Victim-3. O'Connor has paid no restitution. There is also the NDCA case. Beyond the Twitter hack, he hacked a 19 year old social media influencer's account and threatened to post videos of her on it
AUSA: One victim says he put her images out there forever, it has impacted her eating. The 16 year old victim, he perpetratated swatting attacks. US asks for 7 year sentence.
O'Connor: I'm sorry. My crimes were stupid and pointless. I want a life that matters
Judge Rakoff: I have considered Mr O'Connor's autism. Cryptocurrency crimes are too easily dismissed as only money. But lives were impacted. In the California crimes, he ruined the lives of other young people
Judge Rakoff: I sentence O'Connor to 5 years - but he'll get credit for 28 months already served.
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