Greenberg Glusker Represents Cryptocurrency Pioneer Michael Terpin in Precedent-Setting Victory to Collect Over $22 Million of Stolen Crypto

December 2, 2022Press Release

LOS ANGELES (December 2, 2022) - A New York federal judge yesterday ordered a criminal defendant to pay back $20.379 million of cryptocurrency stolen from industry pioneer Michael Terpin in January 2018. Sentenced to 18 months in prison, Nicholas Truglia, a 25-year-old from New York City, was a prominent member of a criminal cybergang that gained access to Terpin’s private computer accounts by means of AT&T illegally giving the thieves access to Terpin’s mobile phone through an exploit known as an unauthorized SIM swap.

“I am very grateful for this just outcome,” remarked Terpin after the court hearing. “Cyber robberies via SIM card swapping are a rapidly-metastasizing cancer that cruelly robs innocent victims of their hard-earned savings, children’s college funds, and retirement funds.”

Terpin had already retrieved $2 million from the gang’s leader, Ellis Pinksy, who was a 15- year-old Westchester County resident when he admittedly masterminded the largest known cryptocurrency piracy at the time. Terpin has a $22 million judgment against Pinsky. 

“My colleagues Paul Blechner, Tim Toohey, and I are thrilled for Michael,” noted Pierce O’Donnell, attorney at Greenberg Glusker LLP in Los Angeles who represents Terpin. “When we are finished and Michael is made whole, his five-year battle against the thieves and AT&T will have set a precedent for private individuals successfully using sophisticated blockchain, investigative, and legal tools in the war on cybercrime.”

Terpin filed three lawsuits in state and federal courts in Los Angeles and New York City against his cell phone provider AT&T, Truglia, Pinsky, and others. In the pending lawsuit against AT&T, Terpin alleged that AT&T is responsible for his losses because the crime would never have happened but for AT&T’s “porous security” that allows criminals easy access to customers' private information in violation of the law. AT&T’s efforts to dismiss Terpin’s lawsuit failed, and the case is scheduled for trial next spring.

“Besides my outstanding legal team at Greenberg Glusker, I want to commend the Southern District of New York U.S Attorney’s Office, and particularly AUSA Timothy Capozzi, for championing the cause of victims of this insidious type of crime,” added Terpin. “The government’s effective prosecution here should serve as a cautionary tale for would-be hackers.”

Truglia will pay the $20.379 million within the next 60 days, bringing Terpin’s total recovery to $22.379 million. Terpin has also secured a more than $75 million judgment against Truglia under federal RICO laws. That award is not affected by Truglia’s restitution payment to Terpin.

Media Contacts: Cheryl Bame ([email protected]) | Sheenika Gandhi ([email protected])