LA's SIM Swapper Receives 8-Year Sentence and $1.2M Restitution for Instagram and Crypto Heists

LA's SIM Swapper Receives 8-Year Sentence and $1.2M Restitution for Instagram and Crypto HeistsSource: Unsplash/ Vladimir Solomianyi
Gabriela Martinez
Published on November 28, 2023

A Los Angeles cyberbandit's reign of digital terror has just been clipped by the feds. Amir Hossein Golshan, 25, was hit with a whopping eight years in the slammer for a brazen cyber crime spree that included the trendy crime of 'SIM swapping'. Golshan managed to not only rip off hundreds of unsuspecting folks through cold-blooded schemes like hijacking a model's Instagram for a ransom but also played make-believe Apple Support to swindle NFTs and crypto loot worth serious dough, according to the press release yesterday from the U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California.

While sentencing Golshan, U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II coughed up a dose of reality, remarking that these high-tech heists were "beyond just money," signaling a "wanton cruelty" that left his quarry stewing in "constant fear and worry," as the young crook wormed his way through social media accounts and bank balances like a fox in a henhouse. The lawman also socked Golshan with the order to cough up over $1.2 million in restitution, as per the press release.

Golshan pled guilty to a trifecta of federal charges back in July, including unauthorized access to a protected computer to vacuum up information, wire fraud, and accessing a computer to defraud for financial gain. Golshan's gadgets were finally powered down by the feds in June 2023 after the rogue techie scuffed up the terms of his pretrial release.

Simulating a cell phone provider and leading victims by the nose, Golshan got his mitts on cellphone numbers through hoodwinking carrier employees. He then juggled their Instagram accounts and two-step authentication messages with a pirate's glee, said the feds, hooking around $82 grand from about 500 vics. The swindler had the stones to masquerade as a gal pal on the 'Gram, coaxing a model's buddies into Zelle-ing him chunks of change, all the while dangling her social media accounts over her head unless she paid up.

These weren't nickel-and-dime capers, folks; Golshan's digital dastardliness vacuumed up nearly three-quarters of a million bucks from innocent marks. This modern-day Fagin also hoodwinked an unwitting parent with the bogus promise of a shiny verified Instagram badge for their kid, just one nugget in a treasure trove of fraudulent cash-ins.

And when he wasn't peddling fake IG clout, Golshan had his fingers in the apple pie. Posing as a knight in shining Apple Support armor, he reeled in victims with the bait of beefing up their digital defenses, only to glean access to precious iCloud accounts. Once inside, Golshan netted a relative king's ransom—to the tune of NFTs and cryptocurrency valued at north of $300,000—wafted away in a single swoop of cyber-thievery.

The FBI, those tireless sentinels of cyberspace, were the ones who finally reeled Golshan's virtual villainy into the dock, with Assistant United States Attorney Andrew M. Roach leading the charge on the cyber and intellectual property beat. Meanwhile, Tara B. Vavere of the Asset Forfeiture and Recovery Section is wrangling the forfeiture rodeo, making sure Golshan's ill-gotten gains are buttoned up tight.