Michael Terpin, an entrepreneur based in the U.S. and an investor in cryptocurrency, won $75.8 million in a court judgment over a scheme to defraud him of digital tokens.
According to a report in Reuters citing California Superior Court documents, Terpin won the civil judgment against Nicholas Truglia, who Terpin said was part of the scheme to steal digital tokens from him after gaining access to his mobile phone.
Citing court documents, Reuters reported the California Superior Court ordered Truglia to pay Terpin the money as compensatory and punitive damages. The report noted it’s one of the biggest court judgments involving cryptocurrency and an individual. It also shines a light on the scams and schemes going on in the cryptocurrency world as the price remains volatile and well under its high of nearly $20,000. In recent weeks the price of bitcoin has been increasing. Reuters noted that losses from the theft of cryptocurrency have increased to $1.2 billion in the first quarter of this year alone. That was 70 percent of all the fraud in 2018, reported Reuters, citing CipherTrace.
In an interview, Terpin said he had filed the civil complaint at the start of the year after three million digital tokens were heisted from his cell phone-based account last year. The tokens were worth $23.8 million at the time. Terpin has sued AT&T in a separate complaint, noted Reuters. Truglia and his associates were able to steal the tokens by transferring his phone number to their control. They were then able to reset passwords and then access his online accounts. Truglia was arrested in November for other crimes, reported Reuters. Law enforcement is currently investigating the Terpin case. The entrepreneur is going after the other members of the heist, Terpin told Reuters. Truglia was living off his ill-gotten gains before being arrested for six other crimes, spending money on private jets, Rolex watches and fancy cars.