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What Happened to the Teen Who Stole $23.8M in Cryptocurrency?

The 15-year-old Ellis Pinsky stole $23.8 million worth crypto-which meant that his world was never identical. For instance, Rolling Stone reports, during his final year in high school, “Four men wearing ski masks and gloves, armed with knives, rope, brass knuckles, and a fake 9 mm,” were seen snooping through the outside of his home in the suburbs. Two weeks prior to the incident, a criminal case was brought against him and stories were published linking him to the cyber-attack. He was aware that the criminals were after the cash, the millions and billions of dollars that the thieves had taken. He was also aware that he could not offer the money to them. He did not possess it. No, not anymore. The magazine depicts the story of “an anxious young man in Invisalign braces” who relates the experience he had at 13 years old. “The internet holds such secrets. It took him just a few minutes to uncover them.” He soon discovered that other people were willing to share their techniques with him. Recognizing that a large portion of the information that social engineers used was derived from compromised databases, he started teaching him to write programs, specifically to perform Structured Query Language injections and cross-site scripting, which enabled him to hack into the database structures of companies. The massive amounts of databases he dug up, stored, traded, and hoarded proved important to users and to other people, just like the Russian hackers with whom he could converse using his proficiency in his mother’s languages. … When he reached the age of fourteen, he told me, “I think it’s fair to say I had the capability to hack anyone.” 

The report states that he was “attending high school by day and extracting the source code of major corporations by night.” He was fourteen years old and was fascinated by the possibility of having a superpower hidden that allowed him to spend his nights doing nothing but infiltrating an underground realm that was revered and even fearsome. Then, at dawn, you were called downstairs for breakfast. He created a Python script to search social media websites and seek out any references to working for a cellular provider. He would then contact them by offering compensation in exchange for helping him complete a job. According to Pinsky, every fifth or sixth person (usually underpaid and on a short-term contract) would claim they’d be game. If you offered a couple of hundred dollars in bitcoins, the person would agree to perform a SIM swap with no questions asked. In the end, Pinsky says, he was able to get employees from every major carrier to work for his company. The stakes then get riskier. It was just a matter of time until OG hackers, who are known to one another in the form of “the Community,” realized that if they could utilize the method of swapping SIMs to get usernames and passwords, they could just as quickly use it to get cryptocurrency.

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In one huge heist, Pinksky was able to steal 10% of all Trigger altcoins that were on the exchange from the crypto entrepreneur Michael Terpin. As the money launderers at Pinsky’s were working on converting the money, the market crashed at the same time. At the very least, one of them kept it, but despite the exorbitant conversion fees, he took millions. Then… For some time, it was a while before he believed that the FBI was at the door of his home at any minute, just like in the movies. However, as time went on, the anxiety diminished. He has since gone on to learn different kinds of programming. He was the owner of a sneaker company that utilized bots and scripts to purchase limited pairs of sneakers and turn them upside down. He attended soccer practices. The group of friends was playing with girls during the weekend and driving to the docks so that there was a view of the light from the Tappan Zee Bridge. The Tappan Zee Bridge. 

When Terpin discovered the truth and realized it was Pinsky who had robbed him, Pinsky and his lawyer thwarted his arrest by calling authorities at the U.S. attorney’s office directly and offering his assistance. In February 2020, the robber returned to his home everything he claimed that he had received from the Terpin theft: 562 bitcoins, as well as his Patek watch, as well as the money he’d hidden in the safe that was under his mattress. If I ask him whether he’s worked with the FBI to bring down the other criminals, he immediately blinks before changing the subject. 

In part, because it was his first offense, Pinsky was not arrested for a crime. He also owed it to cooperation with law enforcement. In a civil lawsuit, Terpin is seeking to receive three times the amount of money he stole and argues that the teen who stole his money was part of an organized crime ring and that he ought to be punished severely to set a good example.

 

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