A Melbourne couple who were wrongly sent $6.6 million of Crypto.com's funds in 2021 is fighting to have those charges thrown out. Jatinder Singh, who was appearing via video link in Victoria Supreme Court on Oct. 11, pleaded not guilty to charges of theft and dishonestly obtaining property by deception, while his wife Manivel appeared not guilty to charges of theft and fraud. The defense was that Singh had thought he had won a contest from Crypto.com and had told his wife as such.
A $10.5 Million Mistake by an Employee
A Crypto.com compliance officer told the court that an employee from Bulgaria entered incorrect details into an Excel spreadsheet, which led to the company sending money to Manivel’s bank account. Singh claims that he thought he had won the money as he had previously received a notification from the company regarding a competition. However, Fores denied this competition existed and outlined that Crypto.com did not send any notifications to tell users about competition winnings.
The charges against them differ, as Manivel is charged with theft for withdrawing Crypto.com’s funds from her Commonwealth bank account. She is also charged with negligence in dealing with the proceeds of crime and trying to flee the country. In March, she was arrested at Melbourne airport after alleged that she was trying to fly home to Malaysia with roughly 11,000 AUD (US$9,822). She was granted bail on strict conditions in the latest hearing: surrendering her passport and being barred from attending any points of departure. Her lawyer argued that she didn't know criminal charges were brought against her when trying to fly to Malaysia; Singh is primarily facing theft charges for withdrawing Crypto.com’s funds from the bank."
$3 Million spent on luxuries
A police officer testified that the funds were allegedly used to buy four houses, vehicles, gifts for relatives, art, and some furniture. Four million Australian dollars (AUD) was also sent to a bank account in Malaysia. One of their four houses included a 1.35 million AUD five-bedroom property in Craigieburn that has been ordered to be sold, and the money returned to Crypto.com. As it stands, around $7 million has been paid back, with $3 million still to be accounted for through civil action reportedly underway to freeze properties and get the remaining funds back.