Cryptocurrency Theft Triggers $224M Lawsuit Against AT&T

US investor Michael Terpin filed a lawsuit against telecommunications company AT&T, claiming that the latter was negligent when he was stolen $24 million worth of cryptocurrency from his personal accounts.

Michael Terpin, a US entrepreneur and crypto trader, filed on Wednesday a $224 million lawsuit against telecoms giant AT&T, claiming that the company was engaged in fraud and negligence when tokens were stolen from Terpin’s personal account, Reuters reported. The investor, who filed the lawsuit with the US District Court in Los Angeles (LA), said in the document that three million tokens were stolen on January 7 this year via a “digital identity theft” of his mobile phone account, which is served by AT&T.

Terpin co-founded Bitcoin angel investor group BitAngels in 2013 and crypto fund BitAngels/Dapps Fund in 2014. Currently, he is a senior advisor to crypto hedge fund Alphabit Fund, which is among the largest ones in the world.

“We dispute these allegations and look forward to presenting our case in court,” AT&T said in a statement quoted by Reuters.

Considering the prices at the time of the theft, the stolen tokens were worth almost $24 million, but Terpin is also targeting $200 million in punitive damages. In the beginning of January, when Terpin was stolen the tokens, most cryptocurrencies were trading close to their record highs.

According to Terpin’s motifs, AT&T had been warned by the law enforcement that such frauds might occur.

Terpin claims that the token theft took place via a so-called SIM swap fraud, which deceives a telecoms provider by transferring a user’s phone number to a card possessed by someone else. As soon as the criminal gets access over the phone number, he can use it to reset the subscriber’s passwords and enter his personal accounts.

Terpin is represented at the court by LA litigation company Greenberg Glusker. He claims that after his cryptocurrency was stolen, his mobile phone account was moved to an international criminal organization.

“What AT&T did was like a hotel giving a thief with a fake ID a room key and a key to the room safe to steal jewelry in the safe from the rightful owner,” the 69-page complaint document reads.