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Man Faces 30+ Years for Allegedly using AWS & Google for Illegal Cryptocurrency Mining Scheme

October 13, 2019
Ross Peili


Man Faces 30+ Years for Allegedly using AWS & Google for Illegal Cryptocurrency Mining Scheme

Earlier this Wednesday, the Department of Justice, and more specifically the U.S. Attorney Office at Western District of Washington published a press release regarding the indictment of a 29-year old Singaporean who faces 34 years in jail for allegedly mining cryptocurrencies using Amazon’s AWS and Google Cloud.

Ho Jun Jia, also known as Matthew Ho, Prefinity, and Ethereum Vendor, was seized by the Singapore Police on September 26, after the 14-count indictment conducted by the Washington state court. 

The indictment reveals that Ho was using stolen credit cards, identity intelligence, as well as log-in credentials from several U.S. and Indian residents, including a gaming development company eligible to use extremely high-pace AWS, and Google Cloud services that Ho used to mine cryptocurrency. 

The defendant was predominantly, if not exclusively, operating through fraud and identity theft, and is said to be most active between October 2017 and February 2018, where the big pump occurred (January 2018), leading almost every single cryptocurrency to never-before-seen all-time highs.

Using powerful computers for crypto mining

The report says that Ho was using a California-based game developer’s credentials to create several accounts on AWS and Google Cloud, showcasing his respective company’s name to secure the best options. 

Total processing power and cloud computing services worth over $5m USD were used by HO virtually for free, while it is said that he was the largest AWS consumer of data by volume during the period of his actions.  

He also used the identities of a Texas resident and that of an Indian tech-company owner to secure his position with Google Cloud as well, where he again abused the cloud provider for cryptocurrency mining. 

Ho is charged among other things with wire fraud, access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft, which altogether sum up more than 30 years of prison time. 

The investigation is still on the run and supervised by the FBI’s Cyber Crime Unit, the Technology Crime Investigation Branch of the Singaporean Police Force, the Attorney General’s Chambers of Singapore, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs and more government-level organizations seeking clearance in Ho’s case. 

It is said that Ho was using his victims’ credit cards to pay for some services used in AWS and Google Cloud, while in some cases he was charging the respective companies behind his victims, which led to his arrest.

Officials said that the defendant was using the services to mine cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, which he later liquidated through p2p exchanges such as localbitcoins and localethereum to access fiat currency.