Jail for man who took details of a prominent American video game developer from the dark web to cryptocurrency mining

Singapore – high school leaving who Personal details obtained fraudulentlyA prominent video game developer, including a prominent video game developer for performing large-scale cryptocurrency mining, was sentenced on Thursday (June 23) to 10 years in prison.

Ho John Jia, a Singaporean, found these details on the dark web after forging others’ US driver’s licenses.

One of his victims was Mr. Mark Merrill, the American co-founder of Riot Games that developed the popular multiplayer online game League of Legends.

Hu paid about S$7 million into his Merrill American Express (AMEX) card by purchasing cloud computing services that he used to mine cryptocurrency. In the end, Merrill didn’t lose any money when the services returned the payments.

Hu, 32, pleaded guilty in March to six counts of unauthorized access to computer materials along with six other counts including fraud, drug consumption and failure to take a urine test.

15 similar charges were taken into account when sentencing.

He remains out of prison on S$180,000 bail provided by his father, after a judge allowed him time to sort out his personal affairs. This includes completing his work commitments and going to follow-up appointments regarding his nose treatment.

He will begin his sentence on July 22.

No law has been made

The Hu case first made headlines in October 2019, when the US Department of Justice issued a statement He revealed that he faced several US federal charges including telephone fraud, access device fraud and aggravated identity theft.

When he offered fraud services on a dark web forum, the forum owner allowed him access to the “Employees/VIP” section containing details about individuals’ names, addresses, and credit cards. He used this to get the personal details of 70 people.

Mr. Merrill’s name caught his attention because he knew of the developer’s association with Riot Games. He managed to obtain the username and password for Mr. Merrill’s Amex account, and was able to take control of the account.

Between November 2017 and March 2018, Ho acquired around 1,468 units of cryptocurrency ether and sold 203 units on a local website for around S$350,000. Then spend that amount and the rest of the cryptocurrency on personal expenses.

Separately in July 2019, he was arrested for taking methamphetamine. He was then issued a drug control order for 24 months, after he had been admitted to a drug rehab center the previous year.

In September 2019, he was arrested again by officers from the Technology Crime Investigation Branch of the Singapore Police.

He did not refund or pay compensation to his victims.

Deputy Attorney General Ryan Lim demanded a total sentence of 10 years in prison and did not apply for a compensation order because he did not have the financial means to pay.

Hu’s attorney, SS Dillon, requested a seven-and-a-half year prison sentence instead.

In lightening, Mr. Dillon said Hu suffered from adjustment disorder from the end of 2017 to August 2018 due to his boyfriend’s infidelity and his breakup with his girlfriend.

His friend, who was also a drug supplier, allegedly stole S$100,000 from him through unauthorized money transfers. Dillon said this and his breakup had a “devastating effect” on him and led to his adjustment disorder.

The defense attorney added that he left school in the third secondary stage but continued to attend courses to upgrade his skills.

In sentencing, District Judge Brenda Tan noted the “enormous” value of services he illegally obtained through the use of stolen identities.

She agreed to the prosecution’s sentencing notes, adding: “Given the scale of the offense he committed, the extent of the damage he caused, and the ingenuity employed, deterrence is the predominant consideration for sentencing.”

For each offense related to unauthorized access to computer material under the Computer Misuse Act, Ho can be fined up to S$5,000 or imprisoned for up to two years, or both.

For personal cheating, he could have been imprisoned for up to five years and a fine.

The judge ordered the execution of three of the individual sentences in a row. Hu received a mandatory minimum three-year prison sentence for drug use, plus two-and-a-half years in prison and four-and-a-half years for two counts of personal fraud. The computer crime sentences will run concurrently with the other prison sentences.

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