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U.S. based cryptocurrency investor and entrepreneur Michael Terpin has won $75.8 million in a civil case against a 21-year-old man who defrauded him of his cryptocurrencies last year, Reuters reports.
According to court documents presented at California Superior Court, Manhattan resident Nicholas Truglia was part of a cryptocurrency scheme that duped Terpin; Truglia was ‘arrested in November for six other crimes and law enforcement is continuing to investigate the case.’ Now, he was ordered to pay Terpin compensatory of $75.8 million and punitive damages for the theft. According to Reuters, it is “one of the largest court judgments awarded to an individual in the cryptocurrency space.”
Referring to various frauds and schemes, cybersecurity firm CipherTrace said that crypto investors have lost more than $1.2 billion in the first quarter of the year from cryptocurrency theft and fraud, which is 70 percent of the level for all of 2018.
Terpin has reportedly lost three million tokens worth $23.8 million from his cellphone account in early 2018 at the time of the theft and then he filed a civil complaint in January. As reported by Reuters, Truglia accessed Terpin’s phone number that allowed Truglia and other partners in crime to take control over their online crypto exchange accounts and steal the tokens.
In this particular scam, the criminals have used a SIM swapping method to gain access to the victim’s credentials. They pretended to own the SIM number and convinced the service provider to grant them access to their calls and messages by issuing a SIM with the same number.
Terpin also sued telecom giant AT&T last August, claiming the company had failed to protect his cellphone data. “In recent incidents, law enforcement has even confirmed that AT&T employees profited from working directly with cyber terrorists and thieves in SIM swap frauds,” he contended at the time. U.S.-based law firm Silver Miller recently filed arbitration claims against AT&T and T-Mobile on behalf of victims who have been hacked using the method.
Truglia’s case is still ongoing; he was arrested for six other crimes in November. Terpin conveyed that he is in the process of taking more legal action against the other swindlers that were part of the scam.