Cybertheft victim awarded millions of dollars in court
Michael Turpin was a victim of SIM-swapping and most likely won’t ever receive the award
In what will go down in history as the largest award for a cybertheft-based lawsuit, a court has awarded Michael Terpin $75.8 million. Terpin is a cryptocurrency investor and entrepreneur who was the victim of a SIM-swapping scam that resulted in his crypto wallets being cleaned out. The perpetrator, Nicholas Truglia, was caught and will now have to cough up the funds. Unfortunately for Terpin, though, the lawsuit is more about the precedent than the cash – he will most likely never receive any of the award.
Truglia has been found guilty of seven SIM-swapping scams, with that of Terpin being the biggest score he made. In the scam, a thief gains access to personal data, including the cell phone number, name and other information, of a potential victim and then contacts the victim’s carrier, claiming to be the subject. They report the cell phone as lost or stolen, and the carrier transfers the phone number to a new SIM card, which is controlled by the thief. From there, it’s easy work to get into bank accounts and crypto wallets.
As with similar cases in the past, Truglia will more than likely escape having to pay the money, except for some minor fines. He has bragged to friends about being a millionaire, but there is no indication if all of his money can be easily traced to him, or if he has some of it hidden in crypto wallets that are untraceable.
Terpin still has a possible solution to recover at least some of the funds. In addition to suing Truglia, he filed suit against his carrier, AT&T, for the company’s complicit involvement in the activity and for not having better safeguards in place. That lawsuit has legal merit and, given AT&T’s financial status, it certainly has the money to pay restitution.