A Dubuque man accused of being part of an international hacking scheme and stealing more than $6.7 million faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced.
Colton Jurisic, 20, recently pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Michigan to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. As part of a plea deal, three counts of aggravated identity theft and three counts of wire fraud will be dismissed.
The plea agreement recommends that Jurisic be sentenced to six and half to eight years in prison and three years of mandatory supervised release. However, he faces up to 20 years imprisonment and up to a $250,000 fine.
There is no parole in the federal system.
He also will be required to pay restitution to at least five victims and forfeit $911,797 in bitcoin digital currency and $19,060 in cash seized by federal authorities, along with other virtual currency.
According to federal prosecutors, Jurisic was a member of a hacker group called The Community. Members obtained victims’ phone numbers through various methods, including bribing mobile store employees, and used them to activate SIM cards in hacker-controlled devices. Through this, they used hacked SIM cards to access victims’ online profiles and cryptocurrency accounts, according to court documents.
Like traditional currency, cryptocurrency can act as a store of value and can be exchanged for goods and services. It also can be exchanged for dollars.
Prosecutors claim that Jurisic directly participated in thefts of cryptocurrency valued at $6,756,420 from December 2017 through May 2018.
His sentencing hearing is set for June 2.