Couple mistakenly paid $10.5M by Crypto.com defends spending spree as contest winnings
The pair who received $10.5 million by mistake are charged with theft. After buying houses and cars, among other things, $3 million remains unaccounted for.
Partners Thevamanogari Manivel and Jatinder Singh stand trial in Australia on charges of theft related to a $10.5 million error on the part of Crypto.com.
In May 2021, the crypto exchange mistakenly processed a $100 refund to Manivel as $10.47 million. However, it wasn’t until December 2021 that an internal audit picked up on the error.
Michi Chan Fores, a Crypto.com Compliance Officer, told the court that the process involves manual entry into Excel. But on this occasion, human error had meant Manivel received more than a hundred thousand times the amount due back to her.
The firm processed the payment, which was sent to an Australian payment provider partner and paid into Manivel’s bank account. Singh was the Crypto.com account holder, but Manivel’s card and bank details were linked to the account.
Singh defends Crypto.com money as a contest win
After receiving a push notification, Singh told the court he thought he had won the money in a contest. He said he told Manivel the same thing.
However, Chan Fores explained that no such contest existed, and nor does the firm confirm contest wins via push notification.
Manivel was arrested at Melbourne Airport in March 2022 while allegedly trying to flee to her native Malaysia. She pleaded not guilty to three charges, including theft and dealing with the proceeds of crime. Singh also pleaded not guilty.
Despite having a one-way ticket, Manivel said she was unaware of criminal charges at the time of her arrest and was flying to Malaysia to see her ex-husband and children.
The court heard that the pair allegedly bought four houses with the money, while $4 million was sent to a Malaysian bank account. The rest of the money was spent on gifts, cars, art, and furniture.
Although most of the funds have been paid back, $3 million remains unaccounted for. Crypto.com has initiated a civil action against relatives of the pair to seize the properties purchased with the funds.
The court will reconvene on Nov. 8.