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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 9, 2021

Burlington County Man Charged with Cell Phone SIM Swap Scheme

NEWARK, N.J. – A Burlington County, New Jersey, man was arrested today for swapping cell phone customers’ Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) numbers into mobile devices controlled by an individual who was paying the defendant for the swaps, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

Jonathan Katz, 40, of Marlton, New Jersey, is charged by complaint with one count of gaining unauthorized access to a protected computer. He is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Hammer and was released on $100,000 unsecured bond.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

In May 2021, Katz, who was employed as a manager at a telecommunications store, used his managerial credentials to access several customer accounts and swapped the SIM numbers associated with the customers’ phone numbers into mobile devices controlled by another individual, enabling this other individual to control the customers’ phones and access the customers’ electronic accounts. This technique is often used to defeat accounts with two-factor authentication including but not limited to email, social media, and financial accounts.

In exchange for the swaps, Katz was paid in Bitcoin, which was traced back to Katz’s cryptocurrency account.

The charge of unauthorized access to a computer carries a statutory maximum of five years in prison and a fine of not more than $250,000 or twice the pecuniary gain to the defendant or twice the gross loss involved, whichever is greatest. 

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George Crouch Jr. in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s arrest. 

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Vera Varshavsky of the U.S. Attorney’s Cybercrimes Unit in Newark.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
21-572
Updated December 9, 2021