Possible Resolution to FTX Hack Mystery: U.S. Charges Three Individuals with Theft, Including Notorious Assault on Cryptocurrency Exchange

FTX's Sam Bankman-Fried exiting a federal courthouse in New York last year. (Nikhilesh De/CoinDesk)

The federal indictment does not explicitly name Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX as the targeted entity, yet Bloomberg has reported it to be the victim. On Wednesday, the U.S. federal government charged three individuals in a prolonged phone hacking scheme that climaxed in the notorious theft of $400 million from FTX during the collapse of Sam Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency exchange.

According to an 18-page indictment filed in a D.C. court, prosecutors allege that Robert Powell, Carter Rohn, and Emily Hernandez engaged in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud and identity theft through their operation of a SIM swapping ring. This operation reportedly targeted fifty victims between March 2021 and April 2023.

The trio’s most significant heist occurred on Nov 11, 2022, when they allegedly siphoned $400 million from an undisclosed company. While the indictment did not explicitly name FTX, Bloomberg, relying on sources familiar with the matter, identified the affected company as FTX.

The accused individuals purportedly gained unauthorized access to an employee of the crypto exchange through AT&T, facilitating the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency.

These charges provide a potential resolution to a lingering question in the FTX saga: the whereabouts of hundreds of millions of dollars in crypto that vanished during the exchange’s tumultuous period, particularly after it filed for bankruptcy protection.