The Department of Justice has charged a Moroccan man with creating a spoof of popular marketplace OpenSea and selling off dozens of illicitly obtained NFTs.
Soufiane Oulahyane, 25, allegedly paid for advertisements that placed his look-alike OpenSea website first on search engine results for “OpenSea” and then lured people to hand over the keys to their private crypto wallets, according to a DOJ statement.
“‘Spoofing’ is one of the oldest tricks in the criminal playbook. Oulahyane adapted this old tool for use in a new and developing arena—the crypto space,” Damian Williams, the U.S. District Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in the statement.
Through this alleged exploit, Oulahyane reportedly stole $450,000 in non-fungible tokens and cryptocurrency from a Manhattan-based victim in 2021.
In total, Oulahyane sold 39 of the illicitly obtained NFTs, including a token from the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection, BAYC #7358, which the victim bought for 49 Ether, a Meebit bought for 9.88 Ether, a Bored Ape Kennel Club NFT purchased for 6 Ether, and an NFT from the CryptoDad series bought for 1.789 Ether.
Oulahyane is currently in custody in Morocco. He was charged with wire fraud, the use of an unauthorized access device, aggravated identity theft, and affecting transactions with an access device to receive something of value that is equal to or greater than $1,000. Oulahyane could be facing decades in prison if he’s found guilty.
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