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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 10, 2019

Michigan Resident Appears In Bay Area Federal Court On Hacking Charges

Defendant allegedly is hacker dubbed “psycho” who conspired to defraud victims of at least $1.4 million in cryptocurrency.

SAN FRANCISCO – Alleged hacker Anthony Tyler Nashatka, a/k/a “psycho,” appeared today in federal court on charges of conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and other charges related to a scheme to defraud victims of at least $1.4 million in cryptocurrency in December of 2017, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Thomas Edwards.  Nashatka was arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley and was released on bond pending further proceedings.

A federal grand jury indicted Nashatka, a current resident of Michigan, along with his co-conspirator, United Kingdom resident Elliott Gunton, a/k/a “planet,” a/k/a “Glubz,” on August 13, 2019.  According to the indictment, in December of 2017, Nashatka conspired to target a cryptocurrency exchange platform to obtain the private keys and other information of hundreds of its users as part of a scheme to steal the users’ cryptocurrency.  The indictment further describes how the defendants unlawfully used the identity of a victim to gain access to the platform’s domain name settings, caused the transmission of a command to disable all of the cryptocurrency company’s servers, diverted users from the actual platform to a fake website, and fraudulently induced victims to input their cryptocurrency addresses and private keys into the fake website.  The indictment alleges between December 20 and 21, 2017, Nashatka and his co-conspirators logged the credentials of hundreds of victims, stole their cryptocurrency, and transferred approximately $600,000 in cryptocurrency to one cryptocurrency address controlled by Nashatka and his co-conspirators.  In addition, using this fraud scheme, Nashatka and his co-conspirators stole and additional $800,000 from a single victim on December 26, 2017.  The investigation to identify additional victims is continuing.  

In sum, each defendant was charged with one count each of the following crimes: conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1030(b); transmission of a program, information, code, and command to cause damage to a protected computer, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1030(a)(5)(A), (c)(4)(B)(i) and (c)(4)(A)(i)(VI); unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain value, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1030(a)(4) and (c)(3)(A); conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349; and aggravated identity theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1028A(a)(1).  

Nashatka was arrested in New York on September 6, 2019.  His next court appearance is scheduled for November 13, 2019, before the Honorable Edward M. Chen, U.S. District Judge for a status conference.  

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, the defendant faces the following maximum statutory sentences:

CHARGE

MAXIMUM PENALTY

Conspiracy to Commit Computer Fraud and Abuse

10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine or twice the gross gain or loss resulting from the scheme

Transmission of a Program, Information, Code, and Command to Cause Damage to a Protected Computer

10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine or twice the gross gain or loss resulting from the scheme

Unauthorized Access to a Protected Computer To Obtain Value

5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine or twice the gross gain or loss resulting from the scheme

Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud

20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine or twice the gross gain or loss resulting from the scheme

Aggravated Identity Theft

2 years in prison (to run consecutive to any other term imposed) and a $250,000 fine or twice the gross gain or loss resulting from the scheme

The court also may order additional periods of supervised release, fines, and restitution, if appropriate, for each violation.  However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.  

This case is being prosecuted by the Special Prosecutions Section of the United States Attorney’s Office.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the United States Secret Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Updated October 10, 2019