A Melbourne couple is set to face a plea trial in October for a theft charge after inadvertently receiving 10.5 million Australian dollars ($6.7 million) from Crypto.com in 2021.
The couple, who received the funds by mistake, proceeded to spend the money before the error was discovered.
The incident occurred in May 2021 when Thevamanogari Manivel made a transfer to her partner Jatinder Singh‘s Crypto.com account.
The exchange identified that the bank account did not match the exchange account, and thus issued a refund.
Instead of an AUD $100 ($67) refund, however, it accidentally sent AUD $10.5 million (worth over $7 million) to Melbourne-based investors.
The incident went unnoticed until December 2021 when Crypto.com conducted its annual audit.
Following the revelation, the exchange filed a lawsuit in the Victoria Supreme Court, seeking the return of the funds to the platform.
However, the couple alleged that they had already spent the bulk majority of the money.
They reportedly purchased four houses, vehicles, and various other items. Additionally, approximately 4 million AU$ were sent to a Malaysian bank account.
At the time, the court ordered the sale of one of the houses, a five-bedroom property in Craigieburn worth 1.35 million AU$, with the proceeds to be returned.
Couple Claim they Believed they Won a Prize
During the court proceedings in October 2022, the couple claimed that they believed they had won a prize from the crypto exchange.
Singh argued that he had received a notification about a competition from the company in the past.
However, Crypto.com’s compliance officer, Michi Chan Fores, refuted any such competition, stating that the exchange did not send such notifications to its users.
In September 2023, Manivel pleaded guilty to recklessly dealing with the proceeds of the crime.
She was sentenced to an 18-month community corrections order, which includes six months of intensive compliance and unpaid community work.
Meanwhile, Singh is scheduled to face a plea trial on October 23, where he will present his defense in the case.
Notably, this was not the first time Crypto.com made a mistake when making transactions.
In October last year, the exchange mistakenly sent 320,000 ETH (worth around $400 million) to a wallet address linked to Gate.io.
At the time, Crypto.com CEO Kris Marszalek explained that the transaction was supposed to be a move to a new cold storage address, but was sent to a whitelisted external exchange address.
“We worked with the Gate team and the funds were subsequently returned to our cold storage. New process and features were implemented to prevent this from reoccurring.”
The exchange has also come under scrutiny for deploying internal teams to trade tokens for profit.
This article first appeared at Cryptonews