The plaintiff in a $224M lawsuit against wireless carrier AT&T has turned his attention to a new target. Michael Terpin’s legal team have filed a second suit, this time against 21-year-old Nicholas Truglia, dubbed the “bitcoin bandit” by the New York press. The Manhattan resident, who was arrested on unrelated SIM-swapping charges in November, now finds himself the target of an $81 million suit that seeks to invoke the RICO Act and land the fresh-faced defendant with a racketeering charge into the bargain.
Bitcoin Bandit Faces Fresh Legal Woe
Michael Terpin’s recent lawsuit, filed in the Superior Court of California on Dec. 28, 2018, names the defendant he believes responsible for stealing his cryptocurrency through a social engineering attack. Terpin has been fighting an ongoing battle against network operator AT&T for its complicity in facilitating the unauthorized transfer of his cell number to the thief’s handset. The incident enabled the attacker, who Terpin believes to be Nicholas Truglia, to steal $24 million worth of cryptocurrency.
In December, news.Bitcoin.com reported on Truglia’s extradition to California to face charges of stealing $1 million of cryptocurrency through SIM swapping, noting that “high profile figures Truglia is accused of targeting in this manner include Saswata Basu, CEO of 0Chain, and Gabrielle Katsnelson, co-founder of SMBX.” This week, Michael Terpin shared his reasons for filing the latest suit with news.Bitcoin.com.
When asked whether the $81 million RICO Act conversion and racketeering charge against Truglia would affect the ongoing suit against AT&T in any way, Terpin noted that the two cases are independent actions, but “we expect to obtain evidence in this suit that will bolster our claims against AT&T. Naturally, any funds we would recover from this suit may adjust the amount of primary damages we can be rewarded against AT&T, but much of our claim against them is for punitive damages.”
$60 Million in Crypto on Two Trezors
A trove of documents filed by Terpin’s lawyers, Greenberg Glusker, outlines a compelling prima facie case against the so-called bitcoin bandit. This includes a former friend of the 21-year-old, providing a statement in which he recalls that “Nick [Truglia] showed me two thumb drives (Trezors). One had over $40 million in cash value of various cryptos, and the other one had over $20 million cash value of various cryptos.”
Michael Terpin is seeking for the devices to be confiscated via a court order to recover cryptocurrency worth close to $24 million – the amount stolen from the plaintiff last year. Terpin reiterated to news.Bitcoin.com his belief that Truglia still has the hardware wallets he was allegedly showing off, noting that his lawyers “are diligently using subpoenas to locate these funds.”
When asked whether he would reach a settlement with Nicholas Truglia, lifting the RICO Act charges and the $81 million being sought in damages in return for recouping his stolen cryptocurrency, Terpin confirmed that he would “consider this a good outcome.” Truglia remains in custody on a $1.4 million bond, pending another court appearance on April 10 on unrelated SIM-swapping charges.
Do you think Michael Terpin will be successful in his lawsuit against Nicholas Truglia? Let us know in the comments section below.
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