(Bloomberg) -- An adviser to blockchain companies is claiming a 15-year-old and his crew of “evil computer geniuses” stole $24 million in cryptocurrency from him by hacking into his phone.
Michael Terpin sued Ellis Pinsky in New York Thursday, accusing the teenager of masterminding a “sophisticated cybercrime spree” that targeted him in 2018. Terpin is the founder and chief executive officer of Transform Group, a San Juan, Puerto Rico-based company that advises blockchain businesses on public relations and communications.
“Pinsky and his other cohorts are in fact evil computer geniuses with sociopathic traits who heartlessly ruin their innocent victims’ lives and gleefully boast of their multi-million-dollar heists,” Terpin said in his complaint.
Terpin is seeking more than $71 million from Pinsky, now 18, under federal racketeering law, which allows for multiple damages.
Pinsky couldn’t be located for comment. A lawyer who represented Pinsky didn’t immediately respond to email and phone message.
Terpin said Pinsky was helped by Nicholas Truglia, who was charged criminally in the theft in New York in December and faces unrelated charges in California. He has pleaded not guilty in both cases. Terpin won a $75.8 million default judgment against Truglia last year in California state court.
Truglia’s lawyer didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
Terpin sued AT&T in 2018, claiming it was the wireless carrier’s lax security that allowed Pinsky’s group to gain control of his phone and to use it to steal his money. AT&T has denied the allegation.
The case is Terpin v. Pinsky, 20-cv-03557, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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