A youthful cyberhacker mastermind from Irvington has consented to paying $22 million to an investor whose cryptocurrency holdings were stolen.
U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel approved the deal between Ellis Pinsky, the hacker, and Michael Terpin, the investor, on Nov. 14 as “full resolution” of the dispute.
Terpin had accused Pinsky of racketeering and conversion of property, in a 2020 complaint filed in White Plains federal court, for the 2018 theft of $23.8 million in cryptocurrency.
Terpin had sought $71.4 million under a civil racketeering statute that allows for treble damages.
He has won a judgement in Los Angeles Superior Court for $75.8 million against Nicholas Truglia, a New York City man who participated in the theft.
Pinsky’s family immigrated from Russia when he was a child, according to news accounts, and eventually relocated to Irvington. By age 13 he was involved in cybercrime, Terpin claims, and eventually boasted that he had stolen more than $100 million in cryptocurrency from numerous victims.
In 2018, when Pinsky was a 15-going-on-16-high school student, Terpin, a Los Angeles investor who depicts himself as a cryptocurrency pioneer, was targeted.
Truglia identified Terpin’s cellphone number and passcode, according to the lawsuit, and then conned the mobile phone carrier into giving him a new SIM card containing the unique user ID and other sensitive information.
He handed off the SIM card to Pinsky, who then took over Terpin’s mobile phone account, roamed through files and intercepted the information he needed to transfer cryptocurrency to his own accounts.
“The wholesome appearance of Pinsky and other members of the enterprise is deceptive,” Terpin stated in the lawsuit. They are in fact “evil computer geniuses with sociopath traits who heartlessly ruin their innocent victims’ lives and gleefully boast of their multi-million dollar heists.”
The teen-aged Pinsky lived a life of conspicuous consumption, according to Terpin, buying multimillion dollar watches, cavorting in Manhattan nightclubs and traveling in a private jet.
Terpin claims that Pinsky continually boasted to friends that he is invincible and would never get caught.
Pinsky and Terpin stipulated that the underlying facts support the $22 million award, under the conversion of property claim. Terpin agreed to dismiss his claim under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
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