According to a Justice Department press release, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York just unsealed a four-count indictment against Soufiane Oulahyane. He's been charged for an alleged scheme to spoof the OpenSea marketplace, a leading platform for trading non-fungible tokens (NFTs), to steal cryptocurrency and NFTs. This incident, which occurred in September 2021, saw the defendant allegedly make off with about $450,000 worth of digital assets from a Manhattan-based victim. Currently, Oulahyane is in custody in Morocco facing foreign charges. Crypto Criminal Defense Blog
The Case Background: Spoofing, as defined by U.S. Attorney Damian Williams, is a classic cybercrime technique adapted to new-age digital assets like cryptocurrencies and NFTs. Spoofing involves impersonating a legitimate entity to trick unsuspecting victims, often redirecting them to a falsified website designed to capture their login credentials. In this case, Oulahyane allegedly spoofed the login page of the OpenSea marketplace. Utilizing paid advertisements on a popular search engine, the accused ensured his fake OpenSea website appeared at the top of search results. This duplicitous site, crafted to mimic the real OpenSea platform, was used to harvest the private login details of users. The unsuspecting victims' credentials were automatically forwarded to an email account under Oulahyane's control.
On September 26, 2021, an individual from Manhattan became a victim of this scheme. The victim, believing they were interacting with the genuine OpenSea website, entered the seed phrase to their cryptocurrency wallet. In doing so, they unwittingly granted Oulahyane access to their wallet. Soon after, the defendant allegedly transferred the cryptocurrency from the victim's wallet to a different wallet outside of the victim's control. He also sold approximately 39 of the victim's NFTs on the OpenSea marketplace, moving the fraudulent proceeds to another wallet. This included NFTs from the "Bored Ape Yacht Club," "Meebit," "Bored Ape Kennel Club," and "CryptoDad" series. In total, Oulahyane is accused of stealing cryptocurrency and NFTs that the victim had originally paid approximately $448,923 to acquire. See Indictment
Oulahyane, a 25-year-old Moroccan, faces a series of severe charges. These include wire fraud, use of an unauthorized access device, affecting transactions with an access device to receive something of value that is equal to or greater than $1,000, and aggravated identity theft.