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Ontario youth arrested in alleged $46 million cryptocurrency theft

A Hamilton, Ontario youth under the age of 18 has been arrested and charged for alleged involvement in the theft of $46 million worth of cryptocurrencies bitcoin and bitcoin cash.

Hamilton Police say the victim was located in the United States.

The arrest was the result of a joint investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the United States Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force that started in March 2020.

"The victim had been targeted by a SIM swap attack, a method of hijacking valuable accounts by manipulating cellular network employees to duplicate phone numbers so threat actors can intercept two-factor authorization requests," Hamilton Police allege in a news release.

"As a result of the SIM swap attack, approximately $46 million CAD worth of cryptocurrency was stolen from the victim. This is currently the biggest cryptocurrency theft reported from one person."

Police say the alleged perpetrator was arrested for theft over $5,000.00 and possession of property or proceeds of property obtained by crime.

Police say a gaming username led to the arrest. "The joint investigation revealed that some of the stolen cryptocurrency was used to purchase an online username that was considered to be rare in the gaming community," allege Hamilton Police.

"This transaction led investigators to uncover the account holder of the rare username."

According to Hamilton Police, it seized $7 million worth of cryptocurrency, and that the matter is now before the courts.

Under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, those under 18 years of age charged or convicted of a crime cannot be named.

Hamilton Police say it is not looking for anyone else involved in the alleged theft.

Jessy Bains is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jessysbains.

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