FBI Charges Moroccan In OpenSea Impersonation Case

In a joint announcement, Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Christie M. Curtis, the Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), revealed the unsealing of a four-count indictment against Soufiane Oulahyane, also known as “Soufiane Oulahya.” Oulahyane stands accused of orchestrating a scheme to impersonate the OpenSea marketplace, targeting cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for unauthorized access.

Soufiane Oulahyane’s Indictment

The indictment alleges that in September 2021, Oulahyane managed to pilfer approximately $450,000 worth of cryptocurrency and NFTs from a victim residing in Manhattan. Presently, Oulahyane is in custody in Morocco, facing charges related to his activities outside the United States. U.S. Attorney Damian Williams emphasized the utilization of a common cybercrime technique known as “spoofing” by Oulahyane to steal victims’ cryptocurrency and NFTs. He noted that Oulahyane adapted this well-known method for use in the crypto space, highlighting the need for vigilance in the face of cyber fraud targeting digital assets. Williams affirmed his office’s commitment to prosecuting such fraudsters, both domestically and internationally.

Acting Assistant Director in Charge Christie M. Curtis of the FBI affirmed the agency’s dedication to holding individuals accountable for malicious cyberattacks against U.S. interests, regardless of their location worldwide. Oulahyane’s alleged operation of a spoof website, designed to resemble the legitimate OpenSea login page, enabled him to deceive unsuspecting victims into sharing their login credentials and other private information. These details were then automatically sent to an email account under Oulahyane’s control.


Indictment Details

The indictment further revealed that on September 26, 2021, an unsuspecting victim based in Manhattan fell prey to Oulahyane’s scheme. Believing they were accessing the genuine OpenSea marketplace, the victim unknowingly provided their cryptocurrency wallet’s seed phrase to Oulahyane, granting him unauthorized access. Exploiting this access, Oulahyane swiftly transferred the victim’s cryptocurrency to an external wallet and sold approximately 39 of their NFTs on the OpenSea marketplace, redirecting the fraudulent proceeds to another wallet.

The charges against Oulahyane include wire fraud, unauthorized access device use, affecting transactions with an access device to receive valuable assets, and aggravated identity theft. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison for wire fraud, among other penalties. The FBI’s meticulous investigative work was commended by U.S. Attorney Damian Williams. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas W. Chiuchiolo from the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit will handle the prosecution of the case.