Inside a Violent Gang's Ruthless Crypto-Stealing Home Invasion Spree


She refused to give up her password, and was, according to the prosecutors’ description, so demoralized by the earlier hacking theft of the majority of her funds that she told the men to simply shoot her. Instead, they stole her engagement ring, two iPhones, a laptop, the charger for the neurostimulator used by the other member of the household as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease, and whatever cash they could find, then left.

For their next victim, the prosecutors describe how the group targeted a man who Seemungal knew to be a fellow SIM swapping hacker and who he believed had in fact robbed him of a significant sum of cryptocurrency in 2021. To prepare for that robbery in September of 2022, they began repeatedly sending their target pizza deliveries in the hope of conditioning him to come to his door without suspicion. When the moment of their planned theft came, however, their target wasn’t home, so they instead lay in wait, then drew guns on their target when he arrived at the house.

Over the next hour, the group bound their victim’s hands behind his back with bootlaces and demanded he hand over access to his crypto accounts. When the account he gave them access to had only a small sum of crypto, they put him in the backseat of their rented Cadillac, struck his face with their guns, drove away, and began extorting his friends and father for crypto payments. Eventually, about 120 miles from their victim’s home, the men took their victim out of the car and told him to kneel. He instead escaped, as one of the men fired a gun from the moving car, though it’s not clear if the shot was intended to hit the victim or merely scare him. One of the group—who has not yet been charged—would later say that St. Felix had suggested they kill their captive.

A few months later, prosecutors write, the group carried out their next attack against another victim they believed to be a wealthy crypto-focused hacker, this time in Texas. On a road trip from Florida to start surveilling their target, St. Felix had fled from law enforcement in Louisiana, flipped his car at more than 90 miles per hour, and broken his leg. The other members of the Florida crew had been arrested after that crash. So the break-in was carried out by a newly recruited team based in the Houston area.

Just a few days before Christmas of 2022, the Texas group broke into their target’s home, bound his family members’ hands with zip ties, and repeatedly hit him in the face demanding he give them access to his cryptocurrency. Prosecutors say they shoved knives and forks under his mother’s fingernails and struck her in the face with a gun. They burned their target’s arm with a hot iron to coerce him to hand over his crypto account details, and at one point attempted to punch him in the genitals.

The victim eventually told his torturers that he had buried a device storing his cryptocurrency in the backyard. (In fact, that hardware wallet, holding $1.4 million in crypto, was in a moving box in the home that the thieves never found.) When the thieves brought their victim to the backyard to locate the device, he climbed a fence and escaped. The burglars stole $150,000 in cash as well as some jewelry, then left.

One Final Job

In early 2023, after those relatively unsuccessful attempts at extortion, an associate of Seemungal’s allegedly began feeding the group tips, hacking into potential targets’ email to see the size of their crypto holdings, and sending those leads to the home invasion crew. One Telegram chat obtained by prosecutors shows a discussion of potential targets, including someone with $1.2 million in Texas and another person with $600,000 in Tennessee.

A screen capture of the group’s Telegram chat as they discussed potential targets. A “lick” here is slang for a robbery target.

Courtesy of Dept. of Justice



Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top