Hacker Arrested in Oklahoma for $14 Million Crypto Heist Now Linked to $2 Million Hack on ICO Investor Ian Balina

One of two young men suspected of hacking $14 million in crypto from the Crowd Machine project in September has now been tied to a $2 million April hack on ICO investor and influencer Ian Balina, Motherboard reports.

Fletcher Robert Childers, 23, and Joseph Harris, 21, both of Missouri, were arrested September 17th in an Oklahoma hotel room after investigators from the Santa Clara County DA’s Office, the Regional Enforcement Allied Computer Team (REACT) and the Oklahoma police used cell-phone triangulation, purchase records and surveillance footage from a local Walmart to lead them to the hotel.

The two are suspected of having used a “SIM-swap scam” to access a Crowd Machine employee’s cellphone and then hack $14 million in “Crowd Machine Compute Tokens” from a company hot wallet connected directly to the Internet.

Now, based on information from “multiple sources in the criminal underground world of SIM hijackers,” Motherboard writer Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai has identified Harris as “Doc,” the hacker believed to have been behind a $2 million hack on the private crypto holdings of popular ICO (initial coin offering) investor and YouTube influencer Ian Balina.

According to Franceschi-Bicchierai, the anonymous sources say that Harris is, “…one of the most prolific SIM swappers on the internet.”

That attack on Ian Balina took place last April in the middle of one of his YouTube broadcasts, during which he noticed something was wrong with his devices and abruptly excused himself.

The tokens stolen from Balina were also being stored on an Internet-connected device, and were likely removed after hackers accessed an old email account that eventually led them to the password-protected crypto encryption keys Balina was storing on a desktop Evernote organizing app.

Balina himself, reports Motherboard, has confirmed that he believes hew was hacked by culprits named “Doc” and “Veri.”

SIM-swap scam’s are accomplished when a hacker obtains a target’s phone number and then successfully convinces a cellphone provider that he or she is the rightful owner of the phone and needs a SIM card reset.

Hackers then gain control of the mark’s phone and can use it to access all sorts of accounts and apps.

Dave Berry, one of the REACT investigators, described the capture of Harris and Childers to Motherboard as a successful instance of, “the long arm of the law.”

Childers and Harris were reportedly arrested within three days of the Crowd Machine hack, and Harris is now charged with hacking, identity theft, and grand larceny.


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