A Los Angeles man who posed as Apple support staff to steal NFTs and crypto has been sentenced to eight years in prison and ordered to repay $1.2 million to victims, according to the Department of Justice (DoJ).
Amir Hossein Golshan defrauded hundreds of victims in numerous online scams between April 2019 and February 2023, prompting an investigation from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). During this time, he raked in roughly $740,000.
Golshan’s most profitable scheme saw him posing as a member of Apple’s support staff to steal NFTs and crypto. The 25-year-old used Apple’s official support line number to gain victims’ trust and offer them an ‘advanced security protocol’ to protect their iCloud. He would then get them to hand over their two-step verification code, log into their iCloud account, and steal what he could.
From one victim, he stole a $319,000 NFT and roughly $70,000 in crypto. He later sold the NFT for $130,000 in crypto. He reportedly defrauded five victims in total.
SIM-swaps and Instagram takeovers
Golshan also took over Instagram accounts using SIM-swap tactics before tricking followers into sending him money. He would then threaten to delete the account unless a ransom was paid. He also conned people into sending him money through Zelle payments by failing to deliver on promised services. He reportedly made $82,000 defrauding around 500 victims through these schemes.
A judge described Golshan as exhibiting “wanton cruelty” as he left his victims in a state of “constant fear and worry.” Prosecutors added “[Golshan] showed little remorse for his victims,” and that his crimes “demonstrate an utter lack of respect for the law and basic human dignity.”
Golshan pleaded guilty on July 19 to one count of wire fraud, one count of accessing a computer to defraud and obtain value, and one count of accessing a computer to obtain information. He has been ordered to pay more than $1.2 million in restitution.