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Oklahoma Duo Arrested for $14 Million Cryptocurrency Theft

Last Updated March 4, 2021 3:45 PM
Yashu Gola
Last Updated March 4, 2021 3:45 PM

Oklahoma police have arrested two men who reportedly stole millions of dollars from a California-based cryptocurrency company, local media reported .

Fletcher Robert Childers, 23, and Joseph Harris, 21, of Missouri, were arrested on suspicion of grand theft, a first-degree felony, and identity theft, a Class C misdemeanor. If charged for both, the duo could receive up to 35 years of prison time, according to Oklahoma state laws.

Court documents filed by Crowd Machine, a San Jose-based decentralized IT company, named Childers and Harris for their alleged involvement in a $14 million theft. The report accused the twosome of swapping the victim’s mobile sim card with a fake to steal his identity and phone number. That allowed Childers and Harris to compromise a cryptocurrency wallet registered with the stolen sim and lift $14 million worth of CMCT tokens.

An investigator with the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office and members of the state’s Regional Enforcement Allied Computer Team (REACT) worked with the local Oklahoma police in tracing the phone used in the hack. It was later tracked to a hotel, where the subsequent arrests were made.

The confiscated phone, according to the court documents, was purchased by two white males from a nearby Walmart. The report cited video footages to back its claim that those two men were Childers and Harris. The car used by both the males in the video footage also belonged to Childers, another surveillance video at a local store proved. The same car was parked at the hotel they both were staying.

Crowd Machine had recently concluded a pre-ICO round of CMCT tokens. So far, the company has released 500 million token units to the market and was holding 1.5 billion ICO tokens in reserve. After the hack, the accused reportedly moved 1 billion CMCT to cryptocurrency exchanges, some outside the United States. Crowd Machine reached out to its community  with a request to not deal with people associated with the compromised wallet address. In response, many exchanges halted trading of CMCT tokens.

“It is highly recommended that no one purchase CMCTs until the criminal investigations have ceased, at which time, we expect closed exchanges to re-open. Purchases of stolen tokens by those not involved with the theft will be honored,” Craig Sproule, the CEO and co-founder of Crowd Machine wrote.

Harris is now kept under custody at an Oklahoma jail without bond. The detention status of Harris was not clear at the time of writing.

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