Alleged cybercriminal accused of stealing cryptocurrency released to live with parents

John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse, Sept. 18 2019, Boston, MA. Photo by Chris O'Brien/BU News Service

By Stella Lorence
BU News Service

BOSTON — A cybercriminal accused of hacking into the accounts of 10 victims to steal over $550,000 of cryptocurrency has been released from custody and into the care of his parents after a hearing Monday in U.S. District Court.

Declan Harrington, 20, of Rockport was arrested this month along with co-defendant Eric Meiggs, 21, of Brockton and charged with computer fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Harrington and Meiggs targeted victims “who likely had significant amounts of cryptocurrency, for example, executives of cryptocurrency companies,” according to the indictment.

Harrington and Meiggs used a cybercrime called “SIM switching” to reassign the number associated with the victim’s subscriber identity module (SIM) card to the SIM card in a phone controlled by Harrington, court records said.

Once Harrington and Meiggs had SIM switched the victim’s phone, they posed as the victim online to request password reset links, and then used the new log-in credentials to hack into the victim’s accounts, records said.

Court records show the co-defendants called the wife of one of the victims from what appeared to be the victim’s phone number, according to the indictment. They also texted that victim’s daughter, saying “TELL YOUR DAD TO GIVE US BITCOIN.”

Harrington will reside with his father James Harrington in Rockport while awaiting trial. James wrote a contract of conditions for Harrington’s release, which will be incorporated along with the conditions set by probation, according to Judge Marianne Bowler.

Among the conditions agreed upon by both parties and Harrington’s parents are a 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. curfew, location monitoring and the creation of a new email address that probation can access and monitor.

Harrington’s next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 9.

A previous version of this article misidentified Harrington’s living arrangement to be with his father and a stepmother due to an error in the prosecutor’s statement. Harrington does not have a stepmother.

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