Couple mistakenly given $10.5m from Crypto.com thought they had won contest, court hears. A Victorian woman accused of theft over a $10.5m mistaken cryptocurrency refund has been released on bail as she awaits trial, despite claims she allegedly tried to flee the country. | Cryptocurrency company
Cryptocurrency trading platform Crypto.com accidentally transferred $10.5m to an Australian woman when processing a $100 refund, and failed to notice the error for seven months.
The company – which paid Hollywood star Matt Damon to feature in a Super Bowl commercial with the slogan “fortune favours the brave” – discovered it had accidentally transferred the fortune to Melbourne woman Thevamanogari Manivel in December 2021, seven months after the error was made.
Crypto.com, which operates as Foris GFS in Australia, had paid out $10.5m instead of a $100 refund after Manivel’s account number was accidentally entered into the payment amount field.
The company launched legal action in the Victorian supreme court this year, and in February was granted a freeze on Manivel’s Commonwealth Bank account, but most of the money had been transferred to other accounts – which were later frozen. | Cryptocurrency company
The court heard that $1.35m of the money had been used to buy a four-bedroom home in Craigieburn in Melbourne’s north in February, and the ownership of the property was then transferred into the name of Manivel’s sister, Thilagavathy Gangadory, who lives in Malaysia. | Cryptocurrency company
Attempts to serve Gangadory the freezing orders were unsuccessful, as she never responded to emails from Crypto.com’s solicitors. The only communication provided to the court was an email reply to Manivel’s solicitors saying “received, thank you”. | Cryptocurrency company
Manivel’s solicitors informed Crypto.com that Gangadory was “seeking legal advice”, the court heard.
As a result, a default judgment was awarded to Crypto.com to force Gangadory to sell the property as soon as possible, with the money to go to Crypto.com, as well as interest in the amount of $27,369.64 and costs.
Crypto.com declined to comment on the case while it was before the court.
In June, Crypto.com said it was sacking 260 of its employees due to the cryptocurrency market downturn. But the Verge reported the company had quietly laid off many more , and not told other staff.
The downturn in the cryptocurrency market came just months after the AFL announced a five-year partnership with Crypto.com to become the “official cryptocurrency exchange and trading platform for the AFL and the AFLW”. | Cryptocurrency company
Crypto.com said in May that it remained fully committed to the deal.
“We are well financed, and these are multiyear contracts, which will continue to play a crucial role in our mission to accelerate the world’s transition to cryptocurrency,” a spokesperson said.
A Victorian woman accused of theft over a $10.5m mistaken cryptocurrency refund has been released on bail as she awaits trial, despite claims she allegedly tried to flee the country.
Thevamanogari Manivel and her partner, Jatinder Singh, appeared by video link from prison in Melbourne magistrates court on Tuesday when they were committed to stand trial on theft and other charges.
In May 2021, Crypto.com intended to refund Manivel $100 but she was erroneously transferred $10.47m. The company did not notice the mistake until an audit was conducted in December.
A worker in Bulgaria, who processed the refund, had entered the wrong numbers into an Excel spreadsheet, Michi Chan Fores, a Crypto.com compliance officer, told the court.
Once processed, she said the refund request was sent to a payment provider in Australia, who then transferred the money into Manivel’s Commonwealth Bank account.
The Crypto.com account was in Singh’s name but the transfer may have been sent to Manivel’s account as he used her bank card to buy cryptocurrency, the court heard.
Singh allegedly thought he won the money after being sent a notification from the Crypto.com app about a competition. This was also what he told Manivel. | Cryptocurrency company
However, Fores claimed there was no such competition and said Crypto.com did not send push notifications to tell users about competition winnings.
The money was allegedly used to buy four houses while $4m was transferred to a Malaysian bank account. The rest paid for gifts, vehicles, art and furniture, the court heard.
Most of the money has since been paid back but about $3m remains outstanding, with civil action under way to freeze the properties and get money back from relatives. | Cryptocurrency company
Manivel pleaded not guilty to three charges, including theft from Commonwealth Bank for withdrawing the money and negligently dealing with the proceeds of crime.
She was arrested at Melbourne airport in March while allegedly trying to fly home to Malaysia on a one-way ticket with about $11,000 in cash – which forms another charge.
Singh pleaded not guilty to charges including theft for withdrawing the Crypto.com money from the bank.
Manivel’s lawyer, Jessica Willard, applied for her client to be released on bail with a $10,000 surety from her brother. | Cryptocurrency company
She said Manivel did not know there were criminal charges being brought against her when she tried to fly home to see her ex-husband and children.
Manivel has been in custody since her arrest more than six months ago and faced another year behind bars before the trial begins, Willard argued.
The prosecution opposed bail on the basis Manivel was a flight risk and her release could hinder the recovery of outstanding money. | Cryptocurrency company
Magistrate Peter Reardon granted Manivel bail on strict conditions, including that she surrender her passport and cannot attend any points of departure. | Cryptocurrency company
Manivel and Singh are due to face a directions hearing in the county court on 8 November.