New charges have been filed against a Philadelphia-based day trader accused of manipulating a series of online brokerage accounts and using bitcoin to hide the source of his profits.
Joseph Willner has been charged with multiple offensives, including those related to computer intrusions and securities fraud. Willner, as previously reported by CoinDesk, was accused this month by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission of breaking into victims’ digital brokerage accounts and conducting a series of short sales designed to generate some $2 million in revenue. More than 50 trading accounts were targeted during the alleged scheme, prosecutors have said.
When the SEC pressed charges, they alleged that Willner made some $700,000 in profits – an amount obscured through the use of the cryptocurrency, which was sent to an unnamed partner. The SEC's lawsuit is distinct from the indictment pursued by the Justice Department.
Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget Rhode said in a statement:
"Cybercriminals continue to come up with innovative ways to steal money from victims using the Internet, as in this case where defendant Willner’s co-conspirators allegedly hacked into the victims’ accounts in order to execute fraudulent short sales."
Willner faces a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted.
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