Michael Terpin, founder of the investment group BitAngels, has filed a civil suit and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations claim against a New York City man and others he alleges stole about $24 million in cryptocurrency from his personal accounts last year.
Terpin was last in the news when he filed a lawsuit against AT&T Inc. claiming $223.8 million in damages over the same hack in August last year. The new lawsuit, filed in late December, claims Nicholas Truglia and 25 other unnamed defendants stole his cryptocurrency.
Truglia is claimed to be the ring leader of a gang called “OG Users” allegedly responsible for multiple SIM swap-related cryptocurrency thefts in the last 12 months. The accusations are not new, since Truglia was arrested in November on 21 counts of theft, including grand theft, altering or damaging computer data with the intent to defraud and using personal information without authorization. Reports at the time claimed that Truglia “hacked into the phones of multiple Silicon Valley executives.”
The hacking involved an AT&T employee allowing cybercriminals to gain access to Terpin’s mobile phone account. With that access, the hacking gang then intercepted calls and text messages related to two-factor authentication that allowed them to steal cryptocurrency from Terpin’s accounts.
In his lawsuit against AT&T, Terpin claimed that not only was the company aware of attempts to hijack his account and had placed “vaunted additional protection on his account after an earlier incident,” an employee at AT&T helped facilitate the fraud.
The lawsuit, filed with the California Superior Court in Los Angeles, asks for an $81 million payout, according to The Register, citing violations of the RICO law commonly used to impose heightened penalties to organized crime groups. Under that law, damages can be claimed at up to three times that amount lost — $81 million nearly being three times the $24 million that was stolen.
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