On Monday (Mar 7) in a Singapore court, a 32-year-old man facing criminal charges in the United States acknowledged impersonating two persons in order to defraud Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google for cloud computing services that he used to mine cryptocurrencies.
In October 2019, Singaporean Ho Jun Jia, also known as Matthew Ho, was charged in the United States with identity theft and wire fraud. He was unemployed at the time of the crimes.
Ho cheatedand into supplying cloud computing services worth US$5.2 million (S$7.1 million) and US$250,000, respectively, using personal and credit card information obtained from a Dark Web forum. Marc Merrill, the co-founder of the video game firm Riot Games, was one of his victims.
Singaporean deceived Amazon, Google for cloud services to mine cryptocurrency https://t.co/R0MRN24WV9
— The Coin Detective (@acoindetective) March 7, 2022
Between November 21, 2017, and March 1, 2018, he mined around 1,468 units of the cryptocurrency Ether with this processing power. He made more than S$347,000 selling 203 units of the unlawfully obtained Ether, which he spent on personal costs.
The court heard that in 2017, Ho used a Darkweb forum dubbed “#1 Fraud Community” to fabricate US driver’s licenses for others.Ho was offered access to a “VIP” portion of the site in exchange for his services, which held people’s names, addresses, and credit card information. He received the details of 70 people, including Mr. Merrill and another man named Harold Borland, on October 19, 2017.
Ho acquired access to the developer’s AMEX bank account by using Mr. Merrill’s personal information and changing the email address linked with the account to a new email address with a similar name.
Ho used Merrill’s name, address, AMEX credit card number, and the email address he generated to create a new user account with AWS on November 3, 2017. He tricked AWS into believing he was Mr. Merrill and delivered cloud computing services on at least 40 occasions between November 4, 2017, and January 28, 2018, while in Singapore.
After multiple failed attempts by the corporation to reach Ho via email to pay the unpaid debt, the AWS account associated with Mr. Merrill was banned on January 27, 2018.
On November 3, 2017, Ho utilized Mr. Merrill’s information to create a newaccount. Between November 4, 2017, and February 23, 2018, he misled Google into delivering cloud services on at least 38 occasions while in Singapore. Ho also used Photoshop to fabricate a driver’s license and an AMEX credit card for Mr. Merrill as part of his deceit of the two companies.
After alerting Ho that they were unable to accept payment, Google suspended the account on February 23, 2018. After receiving chargeback complaints from the bank and completing internal investigations, both AWS and Google refunded funds to AMEX.
Between October 2017 and August 2018, Ho used Mr. Merrill’s information to open an account with Namecheap, a domain-hosting and other service providers, and racked up a charge of around US$900.
He went on to conduct the identical method with AWS, this time using Harold Borland’s information. Between November 19, 2017, and April 18, 2018, he defrauded AWS of US$21 in cloud computing services.
Officers from the Technology Crime Investigation Branch raided Ho’s residence on September 24, 2019, and arrested him. To date, he has made no restitution or compensation.
On Monday, Ho pled guilty to 11 offenses, including Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act violations and defrauding by personation. Next month, he will appear in court for mitigation and sentencing.