Bored Ape Thefts On Counterfeit OpenSea Site Result In Charges

Amid the current uncertainty in the crypto and NFT market, a Morrocan man who created a forged version of the OpenSea digital marketplace has fallen into the hands of the US prosecutors.

Earlier today, the authorities filed charges against Soufiane Oulahyane for allegedly embezzling over $400,000 worth of cryptocurrency and nonfungible tokens (NFTs), including two Bored Apes, by creating a replica version of the OpenSea digital marketplace.

The 25-year-old man was charged with orchestrating a deceptive scheme by establishing a counterfeit website. The purported aim of the fraudulent website was to deceive unsuspecting individuals into disclosing the seed phrases to their cryptocurrency wallets.

The Department of Justice said on Monday that Oulahyane exploited the trust users have for OpenSea, the leading marketplace for non-fungible tokens (NFTs), through a technique commonly referred to as “spoofing.”

Counterfeit OpenSea Website Leads To Theft Charges

Manhattan US Attorney Damian Williams has highlighted how Soufiane Oulahyane adapted the age-old technique of “spoofing” for the world of cryptocurrencies. Known as one of the oldest tricks in the criminal playbook, spoofing involves creating deceptive replicas to trick unsuspecting victims.

Related Reading: Crypto Fraud Prevention: UK Government Bans Cold Calls for Cryptocurrency Sales

In Oulahyane’s case, he paid for sponsored links on a search engine, luring users to a fraudulent website that replicated OpenSea’s legitimate login page. Once on the counterfeit site, unsuspecting victims unknowingly entered their seed phrases, granting Oulahyane access to their crypto accounts.

Exploiting this access, Oulahyane proceeded to sell 39 non-fungible tokens (NFTs), including notable items such as a Bored Ape caricature and a robot dog adorned with a missile battery on its head.

According to Bloomberg, the Moroccan man now faces charges for creating a counterfeit version of the OpenSea digital marketplace and embezzling $450,000 worth of cryptocurrency and NFTs. This incident highlights the vulnerability of individuals in the crypto space and the need for heightened security measures.

Victim Payments And Charges

Bloomberg reported the victim involved in the Bored Ape theft case made payments of 9.88 Ethereum (ETH), which is approximately equivalent to $18,700, to acquire the Bored Ape NFT. Additionally, the victim purchased the robot dog NFT for a price of 1.789 Ether, amounting to approximately $3,400.

Regarding the charges brought against the accused individual, Oulahyane, multiple allegations have been made by the prosecutors. These include wire fraud, unauthorized access device usage, aggravated identity theft, and the use of an access device to loot a minimum of $1,000.

If convicted on the fraud charge, Oulahyane could potentially face a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. The severity of the charges reflects the strictness with which authorities are treating such crypto-related crimes and the consequences for those involved.

Despite the increase in crimes in crypto, the market has only continued to grow with large financial institutions embracing the industry. Over the past 24 hours, the global crypto market has recorded a surge of 1% in valuation. Particularly, the crypto market cap currently stands at $1.226 trillion, at the time of writing.

The global crypto market cap value on TradingView (OpenSea)
The global cryptocurrency market cap value on the 1-day chart. Source: Crypto TOTAL Market Cap on

Featured image from iStock, Chart from TradingView

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