In January 2018, tech entrepreneur Michael Terpin got scammed out of $23.8 million in cryptocurrency.
On Mon., May 13, it was announced that the 62-year-old Nevada resident is getting payback: Los Angeles Superior Court awarded Terpin a record-setting cyber-crime default judgment of $75.8 million.
As reported in The Post, Terpin was targeted by a Gen-Z hacker gang allegedly led by Nicholas Truglia, a 21-year-old who had been residing in a luxury apartment in Manhattan.
In a maneuver called SIM swapping, Truglia and his band of tech-smart thieves managed to remotely switch Terpin’s digital identity from the SIM card that controlled his Blackberry to a blank SIM card in one of their phones. From there, they hopscotched through his personal information to cobble together the code that unlocked his millions in cryptocurrency.
Seconds after breaking into Terpin’s digital wallet, the crew transferred $23.8 million into an online account they controlled. Forty-eight hours later, said Terpin, the thieves had laundered the crypto and presumably divvied up their haul.
“Your phone goes dead and theirs is alive,” Terpin said. “Then they own you.”
Now he has a judgment entitling him to the return of his money plus an additional $50 million or so.
“We are pleased that the Court recognizes that cyber-crime is still crime, setting a precedent with its racketeering judgment against Truglia under the RICO Act,” Terpin said via a press release. “Truglia did not act alone, and we are preparing actions against other gang members we have identified with the help of law enforcement and our own investigations.”
But Terpin is not done seeking justice. As revealed in The Post, he has alleged that the hoodwink was pulled off with assistance from someone at an AT&T store in Norwich, Conn.
“We, of course, are still actively pursuing our federal court case against AT&T,” he said. “[The company’s] gross negligence we contend allowed these crimes to occur.”