U.S. based cryptocurrency investor and entrepreneur Michael Terpin have won $75.8 million in a civil case against a 21-year-old man who defrauded him of his cryptocurrencies last year, Reuters writes. According to court documents represented at California Superior Court, Manhattan resident Nicholas Truglia was the part of the scheme that duped him with cryptocurrencies 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 investors have lost more than $1.2 Billion, which is 70 percent of the level for all of 2018, in the first quarter of the year from cryptocurrency theft and fraud.
Terpin had reportedly lost three million tokens worth $23.8 million from his cellphone account in early 2018 at the time of the theft and he filed a civil complaint in January. As reported by Reuters, Truglia had accessed Terpin’s phone number that allowed Nicholas and other partners in crime to take control over their online exchange accounts and steal the tokens.
‘SIM-swapping is becoming an increasingly popular way for criminals to access the cryptocurrency wallets of victims and there have been accusations that mobile providers are not doing enough to protect their customers’ Coindesk reported.
In this particular scam, the criminals have used the SIM-Swap method to gain access to the victim’s credentials. Criminals had posed their selves as they own the SIM number and convincing the service provider to grant them access to their calls and messages by issuing a SIM with the same number.
Terpin also sued telecoms firm 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 ongoing; he was arrested for six other crimes in November. Terpin said he is preparing action against other gang members.