Crypto Scammer Sentenced to Prison for $20 Million Hacking Theft

Nicholas Truglia, a member of a group which conducted the 2018 crypto heist targeting investor Michael Terpin, was sentenced to prison and ordered to pay restitution.

Michael Terpin, wearing black glasses, on the red carpet
Investor and entrepreneur Michael Terpin was the victim of a 2018 crypto theft. (Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images for iHollywood Film Fest)

Crypto scammer Nicholas Truglia was sentenced to 18 months in prison for his role in a 2018 cyber theft targeting Michael Terpin, a cryptocurrency investor.

The scheme entailed a SIM swap, where the theives gained control of Terpin’s phone number by linking it to a seperate SIM card. They used the number to gain access to Terpin’s cryptocurrency wallet, and transferred more than $20 million worth of crypto to Truglia’s own account.

Truglia, 25, kept at least $673,000 of the funds, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. He was ordered to pay more than $20 million in restitution and forfeit nearly $1 million.

Terpin, the founder and CEO of Transform Group, a public relations firm for blockchain businesses, filed a lawsuit in 2020 against AT&T, his service provider at the time. The case is still ongoing, although Terpin’s $200 million damages claim was eventually thrown out.

In October, Ellias Pinsky, the ringleader of the 20-person group which engineered the 2018 scam, agreed to pay Terpin $22 million. Pinsky was 15 at the time of the theft and later admitted to bribing service provider employees in order to conduct SIM swaps.

Terpin, who also co-founded BitAngels, the first angel investment group for cryptocurrency startups, revealed in a LinkedIn post that Pinsky had additionally agreed to provide evidence and testimony against AT&T in an upcoming May 2023 trial. Crypto Scammer Sentenced to Prison for $20 Million Hacking Theft