The Mystery of the $400 Million FTX Heist May Have Been Solved

An indictment against three Americans suggests that at least some of the culprits behind the theft of an FTX crypto fortune may be in custody.

When more than $400 million worth of crypto was mysteriously pulled out of the coffers of what was once the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, FTX, on the very day that it declared bankruptcy in November of 2022, many initially suspected insiders at the company—including, potentially, then CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, now convicted of fraud. But clues left across blockchains over the past year suggested instead that external thieves had chosen a particularly inconvenient moment during FTX’s meltdown to pull off an enormous heist.

Now, new clues revealed in a US Department of Justice indictment suggest something even more surprising: Some of those suspected thieves appear to have been in the United States and have now been arrested.

An indictment filed last week details charges against three people—Robert Powell, Carter Rohn, and Emily Hernandez—who are accused of running a massive cybercriminal theft ring. The group, which authorities say was known as the “Powell SIM Swapping Crew,” allegedly used SIM swaps—tricking phone companies into switching a user’s mobile phone registration to the thieves’ SIM card so that they can gain access to authentication codes sent to the victim’s phone—to steal hundreds of millions of dollars from victims’ accounts.



Clinton, Blair, and Sam Bankman-Fried

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