Marc Merrill, the cofounder of Riot Games, was the victim of a massive fraud that started in November 2014, when his American Express credit card information was used to buy up cloud computing power from Amazon, Google and others, reported Cointelegraph on November 7th.
The man accused of stealing Merrill's identity, Singaporean national Matthew Ho used Merrill’s American Express credit card to purchase cloud computing services on both Amazon and Google servers. These services were then used to mine cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. By forging a fake driver’s license, a fake email address, and using Merrill’s home address, Ho apparently convinced Amazon that he was Merrill and was granted “access to substantially elevated levels of cloud computing services.” Ho totaled up a $5 million tab on the American Express card.
Although United States Department of Justice charged Ho in early October, the identity of the Los Angeles-based game developer became public only now. Ho is currently being charged with eight counts of wire fraud, four counts of access device fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft.
It is unlikely scams like this will go away anytime soon, but users would be wise to be extra wary of any promotion with claimed celebrity involvement that isn’t publicly acknowledged by said celebrity. Still, it is likely that every year more innocent people, famous or otherwise, will fall victim to the false claims and identity thefts of scammers like these.