Illustration for article titled Cyberthief Allegedly Used Ill-Gotten Gains to Buy Royalty Rights to Rap Songs
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An alleged SIM-swapping scammer is accused of using his spoils to purchase cars, expensive jewelry and diamonds, and the royalty rights for rap music.

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Following an investigation by the FBI, 23-year-old Anthony Faulk was arrested Wednesday in Latrobe, Pennsylvania on charges of extortion and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. According to the indictment, filed this week in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco, between October 2016 and May 2018, Faulk and others participated in a scheme to steal cryptocurrency and other money and property through SIM-swapping, a scam technique used to gain control of someone’s phone number and their various accounts.

Faulk is accused in the indictment of using “fraud, deception, and social engineering techniques” to port the cell numbers to devices operated by the scammers. They allegedly then used those numbers and “deceptive techniques” to take over victims’ email, cloud, and other accounts and transfer cryptocurrency owned by those individuals.

The indictment states that after gaining control of victims’ accounts through manipulation of their service providers, Faulk and his co-conspirators extorted those individuals, whom the indictment identifies as executives and investors of crypto-related companies. Funds allegedly obtained through the scam were then used to purchase a house, cars, diamonds, and royalties to the twenty songs including what appears to be E-40's “Get Hyphy.” (The artist behind each song wasn’t identified in the indictment.) Other royalty rights included:

  1. Back On the Grind
  2. Betta Knock
  3. Big Dawg
  4. Burglar Bars
  5. Extra
  6. From the First Time
  7. Get It
  8. I Do It
  9. Poppin’ Tags
  10. Pull Up
  11. Que Tu Sabes D’eso
  12. Residents of Jupiter
  13. So We Can Live
  14. Tonight
  15. Up In My Room
  16. Weight Droppin
  17. What U Want
  18. Silhouette
  19. Spread Love

It’s unclear why the accused would want to buy the royalty rights to songs, but it’s certainly an interesting way to launder money.

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Faulk was released on a $250,000 bond. If convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, Faulk could receive up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. If convicted of extortion, he could receive up to two years in prison and a fine of $250,000. His next court date is set for January 9, 2020.

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