Identity thief steals $5M worth of computing power to mine cryptocurrencies

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  • Matthew Ho used co-founder of Riot Games, Marc Merrill’s identity to buy cloud computing from Amazon and Google.
  • Ho is currently charged with eight counts of wire fraud, four counts of access device fraud and two counts of identity theft.

Forbes recently discovered that the co-founder of Riot Games, Marc Merrill, was the previously anonymous victim of Matthew Ho’s identity theft scheme. Riot Games is widely popular as the developer behind the successful “League of Legends.” 

Ho, a Singaporean national, allegedly used Merrill’s credit card information to purchase cloud computing from Amazon, Google, etc. In October, Ho was indicted by the US prosecutors, who claimed that the total worth of computing services used by Ho totaled over $5 million. The prosecutors also alleged that Ho even became the largest AWS data consumer. 

The prosecutors added:

In the few months his scheme remained active, Ho consumed more than $5 million in unpaid cloud computing services with his mining operation and, for a brief period, was one of Amazon Web Services (AWS) largest consumers of data usage by volume. Some of the bills were paid by the California game developer’s financial staff before the fraud was detected.

The investigators state that Ho gained admin privileges and huge amounts of cloud computing power on Amazon and Google to mine cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ether. He managed to convince Amazon that he was the president of Riot Games. 

Although the Department of Justice charged Ho in October, the identity of the game developer has only gone public now. Ho is presently being charged with eight counts of wire fraud, four counts of access device fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft.

 

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